The Hair

the hair

Photo by Mrs. Gus

It’s time for me to share some of my parental wisdom with you, it is about all the wisdom I have so don’t go scrambling off anywhere, let me have my say. I am a musician, not a professional musician, wish I was, but I like to play music in front of people and people seem to enjoy it so I guess it works out. I do get paid for it on occasion, just not enough. For me, making music was something that just came naturally, something I enjoyed.
My son is getting ready to enter his teens, well pre-teens really. He has this hair, you would not believe it. His mother talked me into letting it grow about 2 years back and grown it has. Imagine a cross between Robert Plant and Jim Morrison (I know I am dating myself here, but doesn’t everyone know Robert Plant?). Simply put, he has rock-star hair! It is the kind of hair that when people meet him they go “wow nice hair!”. For me this was a no brainer, this kid has to play in a band, hell this kid has to front a band. So I started to drop subtle hints (may not so subtle) that he might want to learn how to play an instrument. I offered to teach him myself (nope), offered to buy him whatever instrument he wanted (nope), offered to get him a teacher (nope) even offered to send him to one of those music camps! Listen, I did pretty much everything except lock him in a room with a guitar and tell him “you ain’t coming out until you can play Smoke on the Water!”
Then this conversation happened
Mrs. Gus “He’s not interested in music right now you know”
Me “Ya I am getting that”
Mrs. Gus “He thinks he’s disappointing you buy not being interested in music.”
Me, total silence. Actually astounded silence that turned into angry silence. I am his father, I know what is best for him! Which turned into guilty silence. I had never even considered his feelings, in fact to be honest, I never even thought he had feelings about it one way or another. I just figured I liked playing music, he is my son, he will like playing music too, case closed.
We have these kids and we want everything for them that we didn’t have. All the great stuff that we didn’t or couldn’t do, they should do. And of course they should be able to do it all, they should be the smartest and the strongest and the fastest. If they can’t, well then they are just not trying hard enough. They should make up for all of our short comings!
That is an awful lot of pressure for a little person, and lets not forget they are little people. Kids have their own likes and dislikes, and feelings. They are going to experience things and turn into people just like we did. Hopefully good people.
I don’t care if my kids play music, or do sports, or get straight A’s in school (but A’s are great!), what I want most of all is for them to be happy. What I don’t want are kids that think they have done something wrong because they are not living their lives the way I think they should be living it. I want kids that feel confident enough to question things, show others how they feel and speak up when they believe something is wrong.

So far so good.


Sick Day Declared!

untitledMy son woke up with a sore throat, it had been coming on for a few days but today was full on cold. After playing rock, paper, scissors with my wife (best two out of three), it turned out to be my day to stay home from work and take care of him. I was the winner, not the loser of course, cause I love sick days, it is the next best thing to playing hooky!!!

Go back, go waaaayyyyy back, to when you were in elementary school, was there anything better than a sick day? Ok maybe a snow day, (remember I’m writing from Canada) but besides that, nothing.

What I remember most about sick days at home was lunch time. It always involved chicken noodle soup. I know some of you are saying “noooo it was tomato soup!”, but not for this guy, it was always chicken noodle. Sesame street would come on at 11pm, followed by the Flintstones at noon. Once this part of the Sick Day ritual was done it was nap time, the dreaded nap, there was no getting out of it. It was the price to pay for staying home from school. At our house you did not have to go to your bed for a nap, you could nap on the living room sofa. The sun would shine in the living room window at that time of day, warming me under the blanket my mother had covered me with. I could fight it all I wanted, sooner or later I would fall asleep. By the time I woke up by brother would be home from school, supper would be on the stove and the sick day was over.

The memory of staying home from school on sick days fill me with such warmth. They were days of peace and security, days of being looked after, no worries or cares. Your only goal, to feel better. They remind me of orange juice, aspirin and people I loved who are no longer with me.

So this morning when my son woke up with rosie cheeks and a sore throat, it was declared a sick day. We are going to watch tv, play video games, and eat chicken noodle soup. Maybe we will take a walk, or maybe we will nap together on the sofa. It doesn’t matter what we do, as long as he remembers it. Someday, way down the line, when he has a child who comes to him with rosie cheeks and a sore throat, I want him to be able to remember this day and a father who loved him.


Father of the Bride, Oy Vey


Shaar Hashomayim Museum

My oldest daughter is getting married. How do I feel about this? Had someone asked me about this before the engagement party I would have said that I felt great, no big deal. I wish her all the best. But then came the engagement party and I was a wreck afterwards. It was really strange, it was one of those things you do not see coming until it is right in your face, WHAMO!

My daughter is getting married to a very nice Jewish gentleman, does this matter to me, no it does not, so why mention it? The truth is that I am learning just how ignorant I am about somethings. You see I am a half black (half afro-canadian?, help me out here), middle-aged man. I know as much about the Jewish religion as Inuits know about beach volleyball. This does not seem to be a problem when it comes to the husband to be. One of the first things he said to me was not to worry about it he was only Jew-ish. I know he did this to put me at ease and it did the job.

When I first met him I was luke warm, or tried to be. As any father with a daughter can tell you, you gotta make them sweat a bit. But he won me over pretty quick, he is just a nice kid. But more than that he makes my daughter happy, I could see it from day one, and I still see it every time I see them together. So I have grown to love him, he is now part of my family. I will admit, it has been a bit tough adjusting to my new in-laws. They seem to be wonderful people and we actually seem to have somethings in common, I am just so scared of pulling an Archie Bunker. Some faux pas in the middle of the wedding or other function (Jewish people seem to have a lot of functions). But I will also deal with this. Good people are good people, whatever religion or color or creed. You find things to laugh about together and pretty soon you are just people enjoying each others company.

So now we come right down to it don’t we, what is bother me about the whole thing? I think the engagement party was when it really hit me, my daughter has grown up, she is now a woman. I know I should have known this already, she has been on her own for quite a few years now, but it is not something that I thought about. It was like she was just sleeping over somewhere or something. If you have teenage kids you know what I am talking about. You hardly ever see them, they are in and out. My youngest daughter still lives at home but between school, work and her boyfriend I might run into her a couple of times a week.

I realized that my little girl is indeed going to be getting married, having kids (sooner than later I hope for my wife’s sake), buying a house, maybe moving away, who knows what can happen! Life can happen and is happening, and sometimes you just want your kids to stay your kids and stay home where you can keep them safe and watch over them. But everything changes and kids grow up.

I am more proud of her than I will ever be able to tell her with words, and more happy for her than she will ever understand. Well maybe one day when she has kids she will understand, but until then she will do fine, her mother raised her right.