The following is a post witten for my little girl, who isn't yet old enough to read it. Hopefully it will still exist somewhere when she is.
We all worry about our legacy…how our children will survive, what we can leave them, what advice we can give that will live with them long after we are gone. For me, this is more of a concern than a younger parent. I am nearly 50; you are five as I write this. Chances are I will not see you grow far out of your 30s. And even before that day, there will be times when you are too far away for me to help or give advice … and there will be times when you don’t want to hear my advice.
I love music. So do you. So I thought, what better way to leave you some advice and words of wisdom than through some awesome songs? This is a list for you…full of songs that reflect my love, my hopes, my dreams, and my advice for you. Honey, I hope these songs will be there for you when I cannot.
Surrender Dorothy by Lynn Miles: Remember how much you loved The Wizard of Oz as a Little Girl? How you always had to be Dorothy for Halloween? How you used to pretend to be in a tornado, and skipping down the yellow brick road? This song is on my list because there will be times when you will feel like that road has lead you nowhere, you have no friends and no future. You will feel like everyone is disappointed in you and abandoned you. You will feel let down. This song is to tell you that coming home for help, love, and encouragement is NOT surrendering. Remember that in going home Dorothy learned a great lesson and also had a great adventure along the way. I will never give up on you. I will never abandon you. I will never be disappointed. I will be your Wizard no matter what happens. Plus, we both love music and I think you, like me, will love the way Lynn Miles works “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” into her song.
Lullabye (Good Night My Angel) by Billy Joel: Once in the coffee shop we used to go to—you were five at the time—I picked you up and you said, “Daddy don’t ever let me go.” This song is my way of saying I won’t. You will always be in my heart and I will always be in yours. And the same thing will be the case with you and your kids, if you decide to have kids. I remember with so much happiness reading to you and singing to and with you. Pass that on. “Lullabies go on and on. They never die. That’s how you and I will be.”
Who Says by Selena Gomez and The Scene: You are perfect. Anyone who says you aren’t will have to answer to me. And if I’m not there, they should answer to you. “Who says you’re not perfect? … Who says you’re not Presidential? … Who says you’re not beautiful?” Nobody. And if they do say it, they really are a nobody. Kick them to the curb. Don’t think about it. Don’t give them a second chance.
F**kin’ Perfect by Pink: Relating to the above song. Don’t be mean to yourself. We are all wrong sometimes. We all make mistakes. You have and will. But don’t sweat it. You. Are. Perfect. To. Me. ‘Nuff said. By the way, I know we’ve talked about the word in this song, and I know we don’t say it. But these are extenuating circumstances.
Beautiful by Christina Aguilera: Yes. You are. I wouldn’t lie to you. Believe it and words won’t bring you down.
The Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie by Pete Seeger: There are going to be a lot of people—men, mostly—who will say anything to get you to do what they want. To get you to fit into their idea of what a woman should be. Don’t swallow it. Their ideas on what a woman is are BS. Your ideas on that are the ones that count.
All Men Are Liars by Nick Lowe: This is the daddy in me talking, and probably pretty cynical of me to tell you, but, yes, all men are liars. Except me. That’s not to say all men can’t be truthful. But humor your old man here and just take what a guy tells you with a grain of salt. OK, so all men aren’t liars, but remember that your worth isn’t based on what a man tells you, anyway.
Ukelele Anthem by Amanda Palmer: Seriously you should learn to play ukulele. Or a guitar. Or something. You’ve always loved music—I can tell it speaks to you in much the way it speaks to me. Making music is a great outlet. Make music, not war. But even further below the surface, listen to Amanda Palmer: Be yourself no matter how different (or similar) it is to everyone else.
You Get What You Give by New Radicals: You may believe in Karma, or God, or nothing at all. But whatever you believe, know this: you life is greatly affected by how you treat the world, and the people in it. It is also affected greatly by the effort you put into it. Be positive. Treat people like you want to be treated. Be strong. You’ve got the music in you. The music of the universe. Love. It’s there. Whatever happens it will be OK. Give love. You’ll get love back. That is the reason to live.
One Woman and a Shovel by Carrie Newcomer: Carrie Newcomer is awesome, so listen to all of her music. But listen to this song because it has this powerful message: You can make a difference. You. All it takes is for you to pick yourself up, pick up your tools, and get to work. Writing. Marching. Praying. Hammering. Planning. Whatever. “Never doubt or question the power of love, or one woman with a shovel.”
32 Flavors by Ani Difranco: Be yourself. Whatever you are, whatever you look like, there are gonna be haters. You are not simple. You are complicated. That is good. Be complicated. Be 32 flavors and then some. That’s you. Haters gonna hate. They can never be satisfied. That’s their problem.
Who I Am by Jessica Andrews: Whatever happens, remember who you are. You are my daughter. You are your mommy’s daughter. You are a loved granddaughter. And so much more. You are Heidi. Always remember who you are. And nobody else gets to choose that for you. But I think it’s a race to see who is your biggest fan. I’ll begrudgingly give that one to your mom, just because.
If I Had a Boat by Lyle Lovett: This is, to me, another song about being yourself, and true to yourself. Don’t be Tonto. Don’t do someone else’s dirty work for free. Get your own boat and pony and get out there. Don’t be someone’s scapegoat. Lead the way.
It Hasn’t Happened Yet by Rosanne Cash: You are going to be hurt by someone. I can’t help that. But it will happen. They will hurt you and tell you they are better than you and that you will regret their not being around. When that happens, listen to this song. Show them your spunk and your sass. Tell them to get lost. And by the way, listen to every song Rosanne Cash ever recorded.
Without Love by Johnny Cash: After all the choices so far, this one might surprise you. A song about love? Really? Yes. Because love is, in the end, all everything boils down to. It’s what we as humans have to offer. It’s a beautiful thing to give. And to receive. It’s awesome. I highly recommend it. “Without love I am not whole.” You and your mommy taught me that.
That’s it for now. I’ll have more later.
I Love you, sweetheart.