My musical education was rich. From three years old I sang along with my mom as we belted out the classics from musicals and the best of the old standards. When my dad was in control of the radio we listened to classic rock loud and bluegrass oh so quiet. Both my parents taught me the tradition of music as one of the great story tellers. I have tried to instill the same love of song and story in my girls. Strive to help them understand that there is a time of hair flipping and Grace Potter and a time for thoughtfulness of a song that connects you to a person and time long since past. Last night on the way from dinner with friends, Zuzu asked to listen to her new favorite song for the fifth time that day. She adores Mumford and Sons and has settled her young love on their version of Simon and Garfunkel’s, The Boxer. It is a rather adult story for my very little girl. The disappointments of a young man in a city too callous for big dreams. And yeah, there is that one line about the “whores on seventh avenue”. Try explaining that one to a barely post toddler.
“Mommy, what’s the whores?”
“Well, it is a lady that is too nice to men for money. You should only be too nice to men for free! Well, one man. After you get married. Ummm. Just be nice. But not too nice. Ummm. Who wants to watch an episode of Dora?”
The thing is, I am so happy that she loves this song. Because music is more than a back beat and melody. It is a catalogue of the human experience. The tales we need to tell and the ones that make us more complete simply because we took the time to listen. So last night we listened to that song for the twentieth time in two days. It was so dark outside and I held Zuzu’s hand as the words and steel guitar sounded through the night and into our ears and hearts and fingertips and toes. She swayed back and forth until the last note sounded. And then she looked at me with her big blue eyes and smiled.
“One more time?”
Oh darling, of course. One more time. Always.