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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crow Soup for the Father's Soul

Feeling a little sentimental and philosophical today,  thanks.  

Fatherhood is a many splendored thing.  It tests many parts of your mind, body, and soul.  It is a challenging role that you often appreciate late at night or when you realize your child is growing up and crossed into a new phase by their actions or their words.  When young children get frustrated, parents when often tell them to stop throwing a fit and “use your words”.  Well, the beauty, passion, and depth of fatherhood is sometimes too much for me and my words, so I thought I would use somebody else’s.  When it comes to beautiful lyrics I cannot think of too many of my favorites who can outdo the beautiful and haunting lyrics of the Counting Crows.  Plus I get to pay a little homage to their music, and when it helped me to scream out some of these words depending on where I was or what song the situation called for.  This section is meant to be a little philosophical, and hopefully, a little inspirational.  Perhaps you will not need this section, or maybe you will need it on day 3 of fatherhood, I don’t know.  Hopefully if you haven’t clicked off this………..are you still reading?  Ok, thanks.  So hopefully you will find some spark in the thoughts contained below.  Of course, there is about a 100% chance that I will be “coloring” the lyrics to apply to fatherhood-
“Have you Seen Me Lately”
 Get away from me
This isn't gonna be easy
But I don't need you
Believe me
You got a piece of me
But it's just a little piece of me
And I don't need anyone
And these days I feel like I'm fading away
Like sometimes when I hear myself on the radio
Have you seen me lately?
I am sure the Crows and Adam didn’t intend it this way, but this song could go out to any stay at home or single parent.  “Have you seen me lately?”  I was having a conversation with the Father’s of my youngest daughter’s friend.  One of us actually said this phrase out loud, “I am really looking forward to seeing Beauty and the Beast 3d.”  I am not going to say who, but isn’t it enough to know it was said?  And that the other dad did not even flinch at the comment?  “Have you seen me lately?”  No, because I have become something different.  We are now fathers, and although we may never get there our goals is to put the needs of our family first.  Sometimes we become so wrapped up in our families and jobs we lose ourselves.  That’s why along the way, we need to renewal.  If we lose ourselves and why we are doing this, we’ll become Bobby Petrino.  So if you haven’t seen yourself in awhile, go find him.  When I say give everything to your family, I also mean to take care of yourself so you can give the best version of you.  Give everything to your family, including a strong, renewed, engaged version of yourself. 

 “Rain King”
When I think of heaven
Deliver me in a black-winged bird
I think of flying down into a sea of pens and feathers
And all other instruments of faith and sex and God
In the belly of a black-winged bird.
Don't try to feed me
I've been here before
And I deserve a little more
These lyrics are more symbolic than anything, and may or may not mean much to you or I.  But in an interview Adam (lead singer/songwriter) spoke about this song, and how it was about pouring everything he had into his goal without feeling self conscious about it.  I think this is important, especially for men as Fathers.  We are so programmed growing up to “win” and achieve status.  But as a parent all your child really wants is for you to be there for them.  That is winning.  So as we find ourselves in circumstances where we must be foolish to bond with our kids, we should do it every time and not be self-conscious about it.    So our craft and goal as parents is our child or children.  We have to use everything we have to raise our child.  The saying used to be that “It takes a village” to raise a child.  But now the villagers live in different parts of the country, and visit on birthdays and holidays.  Less often are aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  involved in your children’s life like they were 30 years ago.  So, for most people, it may take a village but all you have is you child’s mother and yourself.  You will get some outsourced help from teachers, coaches, and the like, but they are not invested in your child’s success like you are.  So pour yourself into your child.  Find ways to make their spirit come alive, and honor and celebrate who they are. 
 “Round Here”
Step out the front door like a ghost
into the fog where no one notices
the contrast of white on white.
And in between the moon and you
the angels get a better view
of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.

This is just a reminder about just how tough life and in turn parenting can be.  As your life progresses, you may wake up and feel totally disconnected from everything.  You energy and creativity aren’t there, something isn’t plugged in.  As this goes on and happens over and over, you start to think this is the life you thought you would have at this point.  This song represents how the things you were told that were “rules” in life growing up, how they don’t seem true as an adult and you begin wondering about the fairness and meaning of it all.  Your dissatisfaction with some aspect of your life and your inability to do anything about it has got you down, and then your child awakes and needs your care and attention.  At some point I will have to post about the new definition of control (or lack thereof) that you have as a parent.  In short, about how you are going to need to redefine your definition of control.  You thought I just meant your daily schedule?  You have to give up more control than that. 
And then runs away
It's a sin to be fading endlessly
Yeah, but she's all right with me
She is leaving on a walkaway
She is leaving me in disarray
In the absence of a place to be
She stands there looking back at me
Hesitates, and then turns away
She'll change so suddenly
She's just like mercury

This song is very likely about a relationship with a woman.  But for our purposes, this will be about our relationships with our family.  They will indeed change like mercury.  They are fluid things that are constantly changing and moving.  If you are not happy with the ways things are, be it in a specific relationship of at your home, hang in there.  Things will change soon, and you can help it along and take steps to facilitate positive change.  If things are good, appreciate the moment.  Don’t be afraid of what the future holds, for it can be just as good. 

“Anna Begins”
And I'm not ready for this sort of thing
But I'm not gonna break
And I'm not going to worry about it anymore
I'm not gonna bend. And I'm not gonna break and
I'm not gonna worry about it anymore
It seems like I should say "as long as this is love..."

This is just a reminder to Father’s that being a parent is hard.  Always putting your children before yourself is hard.  Using a great deal of your mental, emotional, and financial resources is hard.  This song is actually about the difficulty of a relationship and two people that were not ready for both the feelings they felt for each other, but the fact that the relationship that had to end.  For dads, you might just discover that despite the difficulty of raising a child, many parents actually cry and feel sorrow when their children grow up and leave them behind.  The parenting contract is hard to execute, but do everything you can to make it memorable.  Enjoy the moments; don’t be afraid of the bad times.  They will make the good times all the more enjoyable, because in some alternate universe where things make sense, you’ve earned it.