Here’s a follow up to the old post I posted two days ago. Does that make sense? Just read this old entry and comment…if you like.
So I hope my last entry didn’t come off like some tyrannical father who’s away from his family all day and reprimands his kids for the slightest infraction. Oh, well. This is the internet.
So our one month old was inconsolable last night. Finally, I set him down on the couch to get something that had rolled under the oven. When I came back he had stopped crying and was staring in wonder and awe at the three guitars hanging from the wall.
I know my three year old daughter loves music. She loves to sing and dance. She loves to listen to music. She loves to sing to my guitar playing. And I know she humors me by strumming her little $20 fixer upper acoustic I got her. But to see my new born son staring at those guitars was pretty funny and felt just plain good.
Let me tell you a story… again
The wife and baby are out with friends. The 3 year old is sick in front of the tv. The house is clean and I have no real responsibilities until the 3 year old has to go to bed in two hours. What do I do?
I check email. I read guitar blogs. I look at guitar gear I can’t afford. I lament not playing the guitar for almost two weeks at work or at home. I fill the time while accomplishing nothing until I’ve got about 35 minutes before the 3 year old’s bed time. Then I decide to just plug in a guitar and actually play out loud. No headphones. No quiet, don’t disturb the baby playing. Nothing constructive, just plug in, turn it up, and play.
My fingers won’t work. They feel like swollen sausages. It’s hot and all the fans are cooling off bedrooms for kids to comfortably go to sleep in. I’ve been hot this entire time, I’ve just ignored it because I wasn’t actually doing anything.
I’m not only hot. I’m dehydrated. My playing sounds worse than usual. I can’t put together normal chord changes. I start to think I really do suck.
So I get a drink of water. I wash my hands. I stretch out a bit. Then I pick up my guitar again and start to enjoy myself. My sick 3 year old comes running in with her little acoustic. We have a blast banging on our guitars (once I turn my amp volume down to a level my 3 year old says is “just right”) for the ten minutes left until bedtime. My fingers limber up. I feel better. I start playing better.
As we put our guitars away and I usher my 3 year old up to her bedroom for the ritual brushing of teeth, story reading, and prayers I think to myself, “Why did I wait to play?” I can’t play out loud anymore. I can’t use headphones because I don’t want to miss hearing the 3 year old yell out in the night, puke, or have to go potty. Now I’ve got the time to do all the stuff I did before picking up the guitar. Why was my initial reaction at having free time to sit at my computer? Why did I practically dismiss the possibility of playing the guitar until so much later in my rare free evening?
I can only blame habit, sleep deprivation, and duty. With the new kid and my desire to take as much stress off my wife I almost never play the guitar “out loud.” And I don’t feel I can sit down and play for longer than five minutes at a time because there are always things that need to be done: rocking a fussy baby, changing diapers, cleaning the house, playing with the 3 year old, preparing meals, etc. I want to be involved with my family and all the responsibilities that come with it. I’m afraid if I plug in my guitar I’m unplugging from my family. It is a palpable fear and it isn’t a bad thing…until it keeps me from enjoying the guitar when it is perfectly reasonable to do so. Like last night.