It’s sunny outside and the sun is low. Fall is in the air but it is still warm outside. I’m cruising along an empty road with about another hour of driving ahead, I just need my mind to escape to pass the time. Audio books put me to sleep and I’ve listened to enough chattering podcasts to start being irritating. I put on Pandora and look forward to some random music. My son is asleep in the passenger side but just waking up. Then a good one comes on. One that takes me back about 30 years. A summer day and leaving the lake; I’m in a car full of friends singing the lyrics to “Paradise City.” This obviously dates me and regardless of the song, you all know the feeling. We will be the last generation of parents that know what it’s like to flip through a book and find the necessary CD with the perfect song for this exact car ride.
Some of us may even remember putting the tape in, hitting “rewind,” patiently waiting. Hit “play.” Darn! Not yet, a little further, “play.” There it is! The intro riff for “Sweet Emotion.”
There’s nothing quite like it! This is a happy place of comfort. Riding in the car and listening to the perfect song for that moment!
I have found some of my most precious moments with my kids have been during road trips and sharing music. Part of this success could be that they are trapped; there is no escape. You must listen to this song that was an integral part of my life 35 years ago, which you could care less about. I’m going to tell you, child, all about it! Please pretend to care.
But then there are times when I can catch them with music they dig! Specifically, music they dig and I know more about it than they do!
Case in point: Sometimes the kids like to show me songs and ask if I like them. One of these times my son was playing a song for me. Both my kids wanted to know if I liked the song. It was a heavy rock (contemporary 2022 rock not real “birth of rock” rock) version of “Behind Blue Eyes.”
I chuckled the knowing chuckle all parents have when we are about to “one up” our children.
I said, “Let me play you the REAL version of this.” My kids snort and laugh, “What do you mean?”
I continued to explain to them who the true, original artist was, The Who. They blinked a couple times and had to clarify, “The band is called The Who?”
“Uh, yeah.” I eye roll a little.
Of course they doubted the quality until I play it for them.
Luckily as a grown GenXer I have done my time with junk cars, and I now have a decent car with a kickin’ stereo that is perfect for playing The Who…. loud.
The kids loved it!
It is so enjoyable to watch their heads start bobbing to the beat when I play music from the 70s, the 90s or some of the silly, fun tunes from the 80s. One can’t help but smile and laugh during “Love Shack.” It doesn’t matter who is in the car, if John Denver’s “Country Road” comes on…everyone is singing “...take me home…to a place….I belong!”
Whatever your musical tastes may be, I can almost guarantee that your example of talent out does what your child brings to the table. Hands down, current music can’t compete! At least in my opinion.
As my children get older, it seems harder and harder to connect with them. I get it. I am their parent and they have developed their own lives and interests that are separate from me. If I can find these special connections with them with movies, sports and music, I will continue to cherish it when it happens, be silly, and not let the moment pass. Maybe I overthink it, but I can’t help but believe when they are in their 30s or 40s they will have a memory of the first time. The first time I heard John Denver, Dolly Parton, Metallica or Journey, I was riding with my mom and she was singing her heart out, and I thought she was silly, and I started singing with her, …and that was a great day.
Back in the car, the road ahead is open, and we are heading home. I turn the volume up.
As my son wakes up to Guns-N-Roses playing, he has no escape. I look in the rear view and my daughter has a slight grin and rolls her eyes. I’m singing and they have no choice but to be seen with me. The chorus kicks in once again and it was almost like we rehearsed it. The three of us are singing along, “Ohhhh, won’t you please take me home!”
It definitely feels like home.