Sweet Dreams

I didn’t have many sweet dreams last night. We went to bed later than usual (around 1am) and had to be up very early (7am) to get Raelyn to school for her first field trip.

Needless to say I’ve spent the better part of the last hour at work blankly staring at my monitor wondering why my eyes feel like moist marbles.

The drive in this morning in the Camry, sans-air-conditioning, with Raelyn was great. I love getting the opportunity to be alone with her, to hold all of her attention and conversation. With a new baby brother due so soon, any chance I get for father/daughter time is key.

As we drove the backroads into Midtown – I’m not going down 75 with my kid in the backseat of a ’92 Camry with no air conditioning and the windows rolled down at 80 miles an hour – we listened to the radio and talked about the day. The iPod is on the fritz and usually stays in the office or the other car, so the radio’s playlist served as our jumping-off-point for discussion.

First off, Crowded House’s big hit, Don’t Dream It’s Over, got me singing. I explained to Raelyn it was poplular when I was a little boy.

“When you was a little boy?” came the response. Raelyn often fouls up the past tense forms of verbs of being to hilarious, 4-year-old effect. It’s even funnier because she immediately responds to any and all correction with the proper form. Seh never gets angry, just repeats your instruction in a matter-of-fact way that says “oh, I knew I didn’t have subject/verb agreement, but thanks for letting me know”. Too cute.

The music reminded me of my first real memory of popular music as a child. It was 1983 and I was getting my hair cut at “The Captain’s Quarters”, a nautically-themed salon in Edwardsburg, Michigan right next door to the world famous Lunker’s. Feel the Midwestern charm and smell the wood paneling.

Over the radio as my six-year-old-self sat on a phone book in a vinyl cap clipped at my neck came the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”. I can remember thinking that it sounded like the future and all the solid state electronics we had in the house: the pong machine (we didn’t have Atari or IntelliVision), my dad’s electronic football hand-held and our new TV with remote control!

What can I say? My folks were always a bit behind-the-times – still are – but that one song still sticks in my head with that monotone (duotone, I guess) sound of Annie Lennox harmonizing with herself and that synthesizer. To this day, I still enjoy Annie Lennox, likely because of this very memory.

Raelyn’s musical memories (pop-culturally) begin with Kanye West’s “Golddigger” – which was Jenn’s ringtone for a while – and end, for the time being, with Beyonce’s “Irreplacable“. Rae fluctuates between rounds of singing “Do you feel me mommy?!” and “To the left, to the left” every other trip in the car. Part of me weeps inside and the other part laughs hysterically, but such is pop culture and we’re not prudes so I’m happy that she enjoys the music (even if she hopefully doesn’t internalize the lyrics).

Anyhow, the rest of the ride was pretty standard. I told her about what I thought would happen throughout the day with her field trip and Jenn chaperoning and she told me “I know that already” which is her new favorite phrase. God forbid you remind this child even once about something she’s already heard. She’ll put you in your place every time.

We did hear one more song that made me turn up the volume: U2’s “One”. Always a great listen and one I made sure to mention to Raelyn was Jenn’s favorite. Of course, she already knew this and let me know.

I don’t know what it is about music or having a child, but the kinds of memories and visions I had this morning were so powerful and vivid, I had to share them with her and you.

Happy listening and Sweet Dreams!

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