If opposites really do attract, then Caroline and I are no exception. She is the picture of well-organized domesticity while I am more the picture of chaotic bachelor dumb-assticity. She stocks the fridge. I raid the pantry. She organizes bills and pays them on time. I lose mail I probably wouldn’t have opened had I managed to keep track of it in the first place. She’s big on the Ritz. I prefer to camp. She could spend two hours in The Container Store looking for sub-containers to better organize her containers. I could spend two hours looking for my keys. Briggs makes her sneeze. Briggs makes me laugh.
And here’s one more. I love music. But Caroline? Not so much. Actually, it’s not that she dislikes music or anything. She likes it just fine. But her taste in music has been on hold since the Bush Administration. The first Bush Administration. And since Caroline is the leader of our domestic household, her relative ambivalence toward music has meant one thing.
Our kids aren’t really that exposed to music. And that occurred to me a month or two ago when Caroline was away. See, I had my MacBook Pro sitting on the kitchen island and I was listening to a YouTube playlist I’d recently created. It had a bunch of live music from the 90s on it. So there I was, listening to the playlist while preparing dinner for our five-year-old triplets and our baby boy (my stepdaughter was at her dad’s) when Hole’s Boys on the Radio came on.
So here’s the deal. Say what you want about Courtney Love. You’re probably right. But Hole’s a great band. Live Through This is a ridiculously good album and Celebrity Skin has its moments, too. The biggest moment, in my opinion, belonging to Boys on the Radio. It’s an awesome song that never got much airplay that has an infectious hook, provocative lyrics and hauntingly beautiful harmony courtesy of Courtney and Melissa Auf der Mauer (who happens to be hot — am I allowed to say that?).
Anyway, I turned it up and my children — even baby Luke — considered me quizzically, almost as if they had never seen anyone really getting into a song before. I pushed pause.
“What’s with all the stares?”
“Who is that woman, Daddy?” one of the triplets asked pointing to the computer screen.
Debatable, but hey, she had her moments, right? And I must say, she did look good in that particular video, and the band sounded awesome. When the tune was through, they wanted to hear it over and over again. I obliged, because I’m repetitively good like that, but once dinner was served, off it went.
And in its stead spawned a conversation about music. Kirby wanted to be a singer. Sam wanted to be a drummer. And Jack wanted to know if Aunt Graham knew Courtney.
Something funny has happened since then, and I’m not sure if it’d been happening all along or whether I acquired a heightened sense of music as it pertained to the triplets from our pre-dinner jam session. But they’ve been singing more and more the past few weeks.
Ever since the triplets were born, even I’ve been lazy about music. Back in the day, I always had the iPod hooked into our system, the playlist of my choice piping through the overhead speakers above. Somehow that all went out the window.
And I get it to an extent. Life these days is loud and chaotic and sometimes there’s simply too much ambient noise. Adding one more layer often makes an already stressful situation even more so.
But that’s no reason to abandon music altogether. And since I’m the one who loves it the most, I should be the one to take the lead. Which I have this holiday season. In fact, just the other day, I had an eclectic playlist going of my favorite holiday music, and a folksy version of Winter Wonderland filled the room with yuletide cheer.
That’s when Sam happened upon me, his mouth wide opened wide, his brown eyes twinkling with wonder.
“Dad,” he said pointing to the speakers above. “Is that Santa Claus.”
“Close, son. It’s Merle Haggard.”
It’s close. Sorta. I mean, they both have beards, right?