Monthly Archives: January 2016

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Music Notes

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David Bowie died a couple of weeks ago. Glenn Frey died the following week. It was so hard to believe that such strong musical influences in my life were gone. Not that there hadn’t been such losses before. Jim Morrison, Bob Marley and Janis Joplin died far too young but then I was young too. For some reason youth can view the death of an artist through much more romantic eyes. They were tortured souls, they were larger than life. Bowie and Frey grew up with me. They were more like old friends.

Music is such a magical thing. It is the soundtrack of our lives. A song or even a melody can transport me back to that moment when I first heard it and the memories it invokes come up quickly and in sharp relief. I know my children were amused at all of those evenings when I was cooking dinner and playing my music. As I sang and danced with full vigor, they knew I was not really in that kitchen but back in a time and place long gone. But the music is never gone. The music lives on.

I have friends and family who are musicians. My son is a musician as is his girlfriend. I have been surrounded by music my whole life. My children have been surrounded by music their whole lives. I recall nights of impromptu musical concerts with guitars and bongos and whatever other instrument was laying around the house brought into service. I used to sing pretty well when I was younger and had less bad habits. I still sing from the soul but it often comes out scratchy and sometimes off key. Yet I know every single lyric. The poetry always spoke right to me. The emotions were mine to experience. The music was mine to live.

I love the joy one expresses when a favorite song comes on the radio. That long hot summer driving around with my teenage friends, ecstatic that the radio was playing the extended cut of the The Doors “Riders on the Storm”. Bruce Springsteen’s “Lonesome Day” got me through cancer treatment. Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long” brings me back to the first LA apartment my husband and I loved in early in our marriage. Joni Mitchell’s “River” was my homesickness in a far off place.

The night Bowie died, I went into the garage and pulled out the old milk crate of albums I had carried with me for the past 40 years. I was looking for the one album that got me through a very rocky senior year of high school, Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. When I couldn’t find it, I texted my son to see if he had added it to his growing vinyl collection. He responded that he was just about to play it in Bowie’s honor, did I want it back? No, I responded. I knew it was a fitting tribute to Bowie that the next generation keep his music alive.

The deaths of David Bowie and Glenn Frey has left a hole in the musical and artistic world although the beauty of art is that it lives on far beyond its creators. Music is the universal language that needs no interpretation. There is music in every culture of the human world. There is music in the animal kingdom too. In director Steven Spielberg’s imaginative film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” music was the way to communicate with the extraterrestrials. I am grateful for all of the music that has moved me through the years of my life. Although I had never had the chance to see Bowie perform live, I was fortunate to catch Glenn Frey and The Eagles on their final tour three years ago. Thanks, David and Glenn, for the music you have left us. Godspeed.

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Resolutions

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I love the start of a new year. It feels like a clean white empty first page of a leather bound journal. It’s like the first peel of the orange, the first note of a trumpet, a brave new world. It’s such a heady and exhilarating feeling. The chance to start over, to write a new story, to sing a new song.Why then does such uplifting emotion fail to sustain us often past the first month of the year?

It’s an interesting phenomenon, the New Year’s resolution. We promise ourselves the world. And why not? It’s good to feel like the king or queen of your own castle. We deserve to feel good about our lives. We work hard, take care of family, sometimes even remember to take care of ourselves. If things have gotten a little stale by December, why then it’s lovely to embrace January. It’s the start of the race. There is just so much promise.

The word “promise” itself holds power. Opening a package, keeping a secret. Making a vow. A future reward. The promised land. Something sacred and binding. It is much of what makes us human, the ability to make a choice or a life change. It’s the follow through that’s the real challenge. If you have made a resolution, you are obligating yourself to follow through. And there’s the rub. There’s the fly in the ointment. It’s not that we mean to go back to our old ways but they are just so comfortable.

To speak of promises or to make promises is so much a part of our humanity. Just song lyrics alone run the gamut of the emotion. Artists have used both promises made and those broken to write and paint and make poignant films. After a promise is broken there is a long period of regret, perhaps a time to repair the damage of a broken promise. Although resolution is not a direct synonym of promise, we do promise ourselves a result when we make a resolution and we do feel regret if we do not follow through. Maybe we are just reaching too far when we are making resolutions and can forgive ourselves for the unattainable goal.

So I’ve changed some of my resolutions. Age really does give one perspective on what’s important. I resolve to try to be a better mom to my amazing adult children. Certainly our relationships have evolved as we have all aged. What a beautiful thing to have your children be your best friends. When we were younger, my husband and I had to be the adults. I confess that was so hard for me sometimes. I felt like a kid myself. Sometimes the most calming thing was getting down on the floor with them and chilling out. There were two new years that were celebrated with a new infant in our home. It was scary, sometimes overwhelming. A small person so dependent on the decisions I would make, on my constant vigilance, on my ability to keep them safe, fed and warm. On the promises I would make them and the ones I wouldn’t keep so well. On the the mistakes I would make.

They will always be those small children for me in my memory, in my heart. I will always remember the moments I held them and comforted them and yes, lost my patience with them. I will always worry, I will always have so much pride in them and yes despite my best efforts, I will always hover. So this is my resolution and my promise; to be a better mom, to see them as much as I can, to tell them they are loved. To share their lives as they will let me and to stand out of their way. At least I will try. I know they will forgive me if some of those promises are broken. And with that love I will have no regret. Happy new year. May 2016 be full of promise.