This is a warning for my songwriting friends of child-making age. Before you decide to trade in fronting a band for a having kid, think long and hard about what you’re giving up:
1- The intoxicating high from performing before a room full of adoring fans
2- The considerably smaller high (but a high nonetheless), of simply paying to play with hardly anybody in the room
3- Being available to bow to your muse the moment she taps your shoulder
4- Oh, and clean hair, daily showers, party invitations, guilt free narcissism. The list goes on.
I made the trade. Life as I knew it was on hold for 18 years. I finally got some semblance of it back when my daughter went to college. But the thing is, that umbilical cord never completely severs.
Case in point…
While lying peacefully in Sevasana at the end of a yoga class last week, listening to the blissful music fittingly procured by Mark, the instructor, a song idea fell upon my open soul. It makes sense that it would happen at this time. After 90 minutes of continuous movement and having to pay undivided attention to Mark's movement cues (lest I find myself in completely different positions from EVERYONE else in the class—I call these I Love Lucy moments), it’s no surprise that the energy of the body shifts to the mind.
After class I beelined for my car to document the idea on a voice memo so that when I got home I could dive in—you know the dive. But when I opened my iPhone I saw this text:
My daughter Layla, on her way to Nicaragua with her compadres for spring break, left her passport in the pocket of the seat in front of her after deplaning in Fort Lauderdale to make a connection. WHAAAAAAAATT? That aircraft had since departed for Houston with said passport in tow.
It was going to be a long night.
See this emoji? This is basically what you feel like on the inside, for the rest of your life after you have a kid.
To be fair it’s not like I never left anything in a seat pocket before: Sunglasses. A banana. BUT NOT A PASSPORT. (Layla laughs at me when I travel with a fanny pack in order to keep travel documents on my person at all times. But she won’t laugh at me any more.)
She watched her pals continue on their journey without her and then she ricocheted around the airport trying to figure out how to get her passport back. Like that was going to happen. Adam and I spent our Friday night trying to get a human on the phone at SPIRIT Airlines! These are my notes after talking to a series of barely understandable representatives phoning it in from different planets. (They all said the cleaning crew hadn’t found it. I was quite sure it was still in the seat pocket of the parked aircraft.)
My daughter works hard. Gets straight A’s. Has a job on the side to (help) pay for these jaunts. It would take all the money in her bank account to pay for another ticket and that’s if the document turned up. And if it did, it would most likely be in TEXAS!
Good bye spring break.
She was beside herself.
You’re as unhappy as your unhappiest child.
Doesn’t this sound like so much more fun than fronting a band?
Once, I saw a Hallmark card that said becoming a parent meant wearing your heart on the outside of your sleeve for the rest of your life.
I know, I know. Perspective. Any parent of a Parkland student would do anything to have this problem. Still, when it comes to your child even the small stuff keeps you up at night.
I called a friend in Fort Lauderdale who I’ve known since I was 2. She fluffed up a bed and prepared for Layla’s arrival in an Uber. Who would have thought in Kindergarten, she’d be rescuing my kid someday? Who would have thought in Kindergarten there’d be Uber?
In the morning, Layla called Spirit Airlines Lost & Found in Houston. They told her they didn't find her Passport. When I called they told me they had. In fact, “Sasha’ was holding it in her hand. We verified date of birth. Oh hallelujah. G*d Bless you Spirit Airlines. I’m sorry for the things I said. My childhood friend packed her a lunch (and snacks) and sent her back to the airport.
Life lesson #1: Never put important sh*t in a seat pocket. #2 when someone on the phone says “no,” call back and ask someone else.
Off Layla flew to Houston to retrieve it.
The next day she was on a flight to Nicaragua. When she landed my phone dinged with a text—one of those very special dings you wait for with baited breath. There’s just something about it. You know it when you hear it.
Raising a child is like riding a rollercoaster. For all the pride and deliriously happy times, there’s drama and anxiety and fear and heartache. YOURS! (And I only have one child!)
But the love is big. And it can all disappear in the blink of an eye. You can’t know what you don’t know. You only hear what those who came before you tell you. Will you take their word for it? If you do, it’s a brave leap.
I’ve heard it said that “babies bring bread,” …or luck. In fact, my career didn’t take off until I gave up “fronting the band.”
I cherish my creative freedom. I miss the days when me myself and I trumped all (hard to use that word, but it was a word before it was a president). Maybe I’ll never have those days back completely. Maybe I’ll never remember how that song went. Bummer.
Think long and hard. There’s no turning back. The love is big. No love bigger. You make it work.
This blog is dedicated to my pals (and full time working musicians) Wally and Erica who are expecting their first. Best decision they’ve ever made.