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Music to my ears

TRUE Music to my ears

06/01/2008 - I love writing this column because I love music, and I love to help others find good music to listen to. Over the years you have probably noticed that I tend to review music that I can say something positive about. That's because my intention is not to criticize music, but to celebrate it. My belief is that music makes life richer and can greatly enhance our experiences as we move through life.

Having said all that, and in light of the fact that Father's Day is here, I want to tell you today about the most incredible music I have ever heard. I hear this music daily, and I can never get enough. It plays virtually every moment of the day, from when I wake up, until I lay my head on the pillow at night. It started on October 23rd, 1993, and has been playing continuously ever since.

October 23rd, 1993 is when I first heard the sweet little (well, actually, not so little) cries of my first child, Amanda. To be specific, they started at around 10:22 pm. This new music was miraculous. It brought new meaning to my life and a sense of purpose that I never could have imagined. I instantly stopped viewing life from the perspective of a boy, and started looking at things through the eyes of a man. The intensity of this new musical experience grew as my daughter did. I'll never forget my first real phone conversation with her, nor will I forget coming home from work and hearing her joyfully squealing, "Daddy, Daddy!" as she ran down the driveway to jump into my arms.

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Then came Justis, with his deep (little) voice. How can I erase the image of him in his spiderman underwear, jumping on his bed, strumming his little guitar and singing, "Surfer Joe?" Sure it was a little weird, since he was fifteen at the time. No, just kidding, he was three. And he's only ten now. Sorry Justis, but it was worth a laugh to say you were fifteen. But then again, it won't really surprise me to find you doing something like that when you are fifteen!

Laughing, giggling, and singing are the constant music in my house. It's been this way since Amanda came, and now that Justis and Ora are here, it's only gotten louder, and I mean that in a good way. You'd think that out of three kids, we'd get at least one quiet one. Nope. But then I wouldn't have it any other way.

Just the other night, I walked by my little boy Ora's room, glancing in as I passed. I did a double-take and stopped. He had his back to me. He was facing the little karaoke machine on his dresser. He had a microphone in his hand, and he was belting out a bluegrass song like he was standing in front of an adoring crowd at the Grand Ole Opry. It wouldn't surprise me to find him in that position someday.

When we're not singing or laughing, someone in the house is bound to be screaming as the result of some evil practical joke (usually perpetrated by my devious wife) or arguing about whose turn it is to do chores. It doesn't matter, it's all music to me...

I love the music my family makes. I love hearing Amanda in her bedroom strumming her guitar and working on becoming the country music star she may well be one day. I love listening to Justis making some amazingly innovative explosive sounds as he annihilates yet another battalion in the war zone that is his bedroom. And then there's Ora, strutting around with a cowboy hat on and a pair of six guns on his hips, singing, "Hey, Good Lookin', whatcha got Cookin'?" at the top of his ridiculously cute voice.

This is the real deal, folks. The music of life. The chorus of humantiy that gives meaning to it all. Stop and take the time to not only hear it, but to appreciate it. Listen to your spouse. Take the time to have deep conversations with her. Savor the sound of her voice. Listen to the stories that your grandmothers and grandfathers are aching to tell you. Learn to appreciate those infant cries in the night that interrupt your sleep. Above all, laugh as much as you can with those you love, and let it be music to your ears.

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