Friday, June 23, 2006

My Daughter Can Sing...

My 20 year old daughter, Renee, who it turns out is not only beautiful and brilliant (3rd year Pre-Med at University of Arizona), but talented too, is visiting between school sessions. She heard me on the phone trying to track down a singer that can handle Gaelic. With indigence, wholly feigned, confronted me saying “I can sing that, Mike was my friend too, I can sing that.” I was non-plussed. I mean, I've heard her sing, and yes, she holds a tune well, she has pitch and emotion, chalk it up to a DNA thing, but, I've never heard of her singing in, well, public. I mention this to her. She replies “Just 'cause I haven't doesn't mean I can't.” I ask her about the Gaelic part and she starts to sing an old tune that's a favorite of mine “Gort Na Sailean” (The Salley Gardens) which I used to sing to her at night.
She nailed it. She does stuff like this to me all the time. She's always been a very reserved and quiet kid. Quietly getting straight A's since she hit school, quietly developing depths of personality that she doesn't let me, or most people see. Even though things like this have happened over and over it still floors me. I ask her if she's familiar with “Mo Ghile Mear.” She gives me that look, which coming from a 20ish young woman means “are you really THAT lame?” But, as it goes with her, says nothing until she says
  • Sting did it.
  • She leaves it at that. So do I.
    I print out the lyrics, and a phonetic cheat sheet and we start to practice. She's good. Real good. I ask her about why she didn't ever go in for choir and stuff in school and she says “I didn't want to be in music because it kept you away from us all the time. I would listen to it and enjoy it, but even when you were home you were off by yourself practicing, then you'd pack and go away for months at a time. I knew if I was any good at it that it would take over my life too. Autumn (her sister who's studying harp in Ireland) got good, and she's gone. Besides, I want to be a Doctor, and I don't think I can do both.” I said, “You could just do it for fun, you know, to relax. That's how most people do music.” She said “You don't. I've seen you work hard all my life. Even when you quit touring to stay home with us you were working or practicing all the time. You've always been pretty distant. It's not a bad thing, it's just who you are, it's something all us kids have to work around.” I sat there like a dummy, behind the harp. I'm looking at this beautiful, self assured young woman and what I see is the little girl that I used to leave behind. I finally say “I'm here for now, let's make the most of it.” I hit a chord and begin to play. She begins to sing. While she's singing she comes over to sit down next to me. When the song is finished she says “It's alright, I know you do the best you can. You gave up a lot to stay home with us. You quit drinking and all that stuff. You never pushed me, I pushed myself into college. You work hard to pay for it and I'll always be grateful. I'm glad you're my dad. I can say anything I want to you and not be afraid. Let's practice some more, I think we're sounding pretty good. Don't worry, it will be fine.”
    I'm not worried. Not about doing the song, not about her. She's fine already. I don't care if she's this great because of or in spite of me. That doesn't matter. Not today.


    Blogger PeterofLoneTree said...

    Not trying to get "biblical" and "religious" on ya' now but I'm reminded of:

    The Bible teaches the wisdom and innocence of children far-surpassing that of adults, which adults should emulate, and adults should listen to, and learn from children; this being the basis of the Bible proclamation: "and a little child shall lead them" ... "for of such is the kingdom of Heaven"

    "She gives me that look, which coming from a 20ish young woman means “are you really THAT lame?”

    PoLT remembers situations such as you describe, the only difference being his daughter usually responded with, "DAA-AAAD!"

    7:48 AM  
    Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

    i am constantly amazed by my kids. and when they come up with stuff like nailing me for being distant (and i must acknowledge the truth of what they're saying, at least this time it wasn't moody) but they aren't being critical or calling me a bad parent, they are just calling it as they see it, and it's usually followed by how they deal with it. i absolutely have a lot of things that i wish i had done differently with them, but, when i look at how they are doing, i have no complaints. they are growing into confident, and happy individuals, that makes me very happy.

    9:42 AM  

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