Metal Mayhem

What started with my dad providing these memories for his son by being there, going to the shows, and enduring what those shows entailed, now continues with that same son, now raising a son of his own, and using a passion for music to create some grand memories. And in the end, that’s what it is all about to begin with. Not that we all share the same musical taste, but the fact that we were there and a part of the memory to begin with.

If you follow me on Twitter then you may have noticed that recently I have been on a kick of listening to metal. Bands like Confide, We Came As Romans, Killswitch Engage, and Bullet for My Valentine, just to name drop a few. Since high school, I have had an ear for metal, hardcore, post-hardcore, and music of the like. Some great father/son memories were created between me and my dad going to hardcore shows to see local scene heroes Stretch Arm Strong. To this day, I still think that my dad might have enjoyed going, just as much as I enjoyed getting down in the pit. You would never find him down in there with me, but the point was he cared enough to endure the intense volume of music and heat in the venue. What can I say? My dad ROCKS!

Little Man has also become somewhat of a fan of metal as well. Both of us being influenced by my brother-in-law. “Uncle Bubby” as he is called by the little ones, is a guru of all things metal music. We have had some great times in this house banging our heads until we got dizzy, riffing it up on air guitars, and just killing it on air drums. Then of course, being in my growing age, I get out of breath, have to sit down, and then the party is over. But it doesn’t seem to matter to the little dude. Whether we rock out for 10 minutes or one song, the fact is daddy took the time to rock out with him.

It never ceases to amaze me how music seems to provide those moments, or create memories, or just be such an influence in our lives. Music holds a special power that uplifts, brings people together, gives them a reason to carry on, or just seems to define who a person is. Now honestly, you would have to actually ask my dad whether he enjoyed the hardcore and punk shows, or listening to “For the Record” 18 times on the way to the video shoot at the Elbow Room. I’m sure there were many nights where we got home, he went to the bedroom and told my mom to break out the ibuprophen. But that is who my dad is. To him, it was about an opportunity to provide a special moment for his son.

For myself and my miniature me, while I don’t think he is ready for his first concert, we create our own experience right here at home. Even when I have my guitar out jamming, he will take some time to get his guitar and rock right along. He can’t play chords, he can’t really carry a tune, or pull off brutal metal growls, but the boy has a passion for music. Through this shared passion, we create bonding moments everyday in which music plays an important role. When he wants to rock out, we rock out. When he wants to join me in rocking, he does.

Funny the things that we find bridging the generations in our families. For us, metal mayhem just happens to be one of those things. What started with my dad providing these memories for his son by being there, going to the shows, and enduring what those shows entailed, now continues with that same son, now raising a son of his own, and using a passion for music to create some grand memories. And in the end, that’s what it is all about to begin with. Not that we all share the same musical taste, but the fact that we were there and a part of the memory to begin with.

A Little Girl’s Thoughts on The Grinch

He is green and furry, after all, and he lives in a cave. Sigh. Maybe the memories that we want them to have are just not the memories they are going to take with them.

Maybe now that I’m getting older I’m becoming more sentimental. I don’t know why, but over the past few days I’ve really been thinking about the memories that Gavin and Marley will have of their childhood. Especially surrounding Christmas, as this should be a very happy, loving, magical time for kids. I cherish the Christmas memories that I have from when I was younger. Decorating the tree, drinking egg nog, shaking my presents while trying desperately to guess what they were. All of these things meant a lot to me, and I want my kids to be able to look back on their childhood with the same fondness.

So, when I saw that Dr. Suess’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was coming on, I jumped at the chance to watch it with Marley. Gav was off doing other things, and had no interest in some silly Christmas cartoon. So, I curled up on the couch with my cuddle monkey, ready to make some memories. I always enjoyed watching this when I was younger, as it just didn’t seem like Christmas in our house until we watched that sneaky little Grinch do what he did best.

As a matter of fact, Marley kind of favors Cindy Lou Who, although she doesn’t agree. She actually tried to ninjy my face off when we were discussing the resemblance. I survived, thanks to my cat-like reflexes and the fact that I am taller, bigger, and stronger than her. Her two foot reach didn’t help her much, either.

After forcing me to admit that I was absolutely crazy for thinking that she looked like a cartoon character, we settled down and actually started enjoying it. She laughed when he tied the antler to his dog’s head, which made me a little uneasy. I’m expecting any day to walk around the corner of the house and see her holding Echo, our black lab, down while desperately trying to tie a tree branch to her head. We talked about how he took everything, even the leaves off the plants, so that no one could enjoy Christmas. She was so amazed by how much work went into sneaking everything out, and how many decorations the Who’s actually had. It filled up his entire sleigh, which she thought was just ridiculous. We didn’t discuss how many decorations she felt the entire town should have, but I get the feeling that she has the “less is more” mentality.

By the end she was actually cheering for the Grinch, and was so very into the cartoon. When it was over, as the credits started scrolling up the screen, I asked her what she thought. I don’t really know what I expected her to say. Something about how great it was that they were actually going to enjoy Christmas despite the fact that they woke up to absolutely nothing but the company of each other would have been nice. Maybe I wanted her to say that she was proud of the Grinch for changing his outlook, that he was capable of being a good person, a quality role-model. I would have liked for her to talk about why the Grinch was so grumpy in the beginning, but after seeing how great it is to actually enjoy an occasion, that he was changed for the better.

Nah, that wasn’t at all what she was thinking about.

“He looks like he smells reeeeaaaaallll bad.”

He is green and furry, after all, and he lives in a cave. Sigh. Maybe the memories that we want them to have are just not the memories they are going to take with them.

 

**About the Author: Bartimus Prime is a SASD (Stay at Stove Dad), working full-time in the restaurant industry and full-time as Daddy to a genius 7 year-old son recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and a 4 year-old daughter recently diagnosed with a shoe and purse addiction. Married for over 8 years to the same woman, despite all of his embarrassing socially awkward moments and unimpressive ability to act intelligent. His rants and sometimes less-than-superb parenting skills are on display on his blog, I Can’t See Cause You’re Talking Too Loud

Fall Leaves: Fun, Memories, and Insight

This day however, the feel of fall blowing against my skin, and the sight of watching my children have the time of their lives has me thinking a little deeper. I watch as they smile their little hearts out. I watch as the leaves they throw up in the air get carried away in the breeze. Twisting and turning, blowing this way and that. I listen to the laughter and the innocence that it carries on the wind.


Yesterday was the first time I have been able to take the children outside to play in a few weeks. It’s either been raining, or too cold. They have been sick and I have been sick, but yesterday afternoon we are all well. The rain had not reached our area at that point and the air and the breeze were on the warm side. After my son’s pouty faced plea, “Daddy, I want to go outside and play in the leaves”, the decision was made: we would go outside and play in the leaves.

Fall is such a magical time of year. Full of color, the change of the seasons, and looking forward to all the holiday celebrations. It is also a great time of year for getting outdoors (unless you have serious allergy issues) and playing with the children. The weather is cooling off, the leaves are falling, and a warm breeze just lingers in the air. It makes me think of the oncoming winter, the smell of chimneys, snowfall, and hot chocolate. Celebrations of the different holidays fill our schedules with weekend trips and fall shopping frenzy.

This day however, the feel of fall blowing against my skin, and the sight of watching my children have the time of their lives has me thinking a little deeper. I watch as they smile their little hearts out. I watch as the leaves they throw up in the air get carried away in the breeze. Twisting and turning, blowing this way and that. I listen to the laughter and the innocence that it carries on the wind. Their voices get intertwined with the sound of rustling leaves and the wind blowing through the barren trees. I smile, I rejoice in all that is good, and I stop.

I think back to when I was a child. Fighting because I did not want to put my jacket on to go outside. Whining and pitching a fit because I did not want to come back inside. I think back to chasing our dog Rooney around and romping in the grass and leaves in my parent’s backyard. I can still remember the smells of fall in the deep south; and the way the riverbirch tree seemed to tower overhead when the branches had become bare. I think back to trips to Grandmama and Grandaddy’s house, and climbing the tree in their front yard. I think of visits to Nana and Papa’s house on the golf course; the beautiful greens and fairways beautifully contrasting to the brown, red, and yellow leaves that had fallen on the course.

Then I pause once again, and turn back to my children. Their eyes are glowing with excitement and amusement. I watch their red cheeks spread with wide grins, from ear to ear. I watch innocence in its purest form. I watch the carefree spirit that dwells inside of every child. That innate cuteness that draws us to tears of joy, kisses from one cheek to the other, and hugs that could last a lifetime. Then I start to think: where does this cuteness go? What happens when we get older that causes us to lose that carefree spirit? And how can I teach my children to never lose sight of those feelings?

I don’t know the answers, and I’m not sure I know where to begin to search for them. I throw these questions into that warm fall breeze, and watch them float away. Perhaps it is not all about the state of things in the future, but making the best of the now. My children, right now, right in that moment, are happy. They are healthy, they are alive, and they are full of spirit. They call me over to join in the fun, and I leave my questions and concerns behind me. Sitting in the leaves on this fall day, I was reminded. Reminded that there is not enough time to be worried about time we do not yet have. Reminded that the memories of life are only made in the now. And that time with the children is time well spent, no matter what. In this revelation, I find peace, and all is well.

Memories I’ll Remember

My son is only three years old, and something strange occurred to me recently. I can’t really remember how I spent most of my free time before I was a dad. It’s odd because I must have had tons of it. Free time that is.

My son is only three years old, and something strange occurred to me recently.  I can’t really remember how I spent most of my free time before I was a dad. It’s odd because I must have had tons of it. Free time that is.

I mean if I think of it, back then I didn’t have to do all the extra maintenance that comes from having a 3 year old boy. Like the extra laundry and dishes and food prep.  Similarly I didn’t have to spend my evenings preparing a snack for him the next day, just in time to then participate in his nightly bedtime routine.

Or the time spent running him to kid centered activities, such as birthday parties, soccer practice, and play dates.

As most of you probably know, cleaning up spills, strewn toys, and piles of books, is a constant time drain. None of that existed three and a half years ago for me. Wow, come to think of it, I must have been flush with time to enjoy life’s finer things.

But how exactly did I spend that time?

Again, I can’t really remember. I see shelves in my house lined with books that must have been read. Cabinets full of DVD’s (and yes VHS tapes) that I can recall the plots for. I must have seen them back before I was a dad. Somehow, a couple of houses got remodeled. And there were vacations. I’m fairly certain they were to somewhere sunny.

It’s a fact that I was in better shape before having a child. Of course I was in my 30’s, not my 40’s. I probably spent some of my free time working out.

Being a parent can easily become who you are. What you are all about. In the mean time drowning out memories of who you were before. Sometimes I worry about this happening to me. But not for long. As you can guess, I don’t have the time to dwell on it.

Plus, even though I am not entirely clear on what I did do with all my free time before welcoming my beautiful boy into the world, I know with certainty what I didn’t do.

I didn’t play any laughter infused games of hide and seek. I didn’t teach anyone the finer points of hitting a ball with a bat. I didn’t play Stomp Rockets in my back yard until my legs ached. I didn’t roast marshmallows around a camp fire. I didn’t serve as Mission Control, counting down over and over again for an Astronauts trips to the Moon and beyond. And I didn’t hold my son in my arms and comfort him after he skinned his knee riding his balance bike.

No, I did none of those things with my free time before becoming a father.

But somehow, 10 or 20 years form now, I’m pretty sure these are the things that I will remember.