My daughter is six weeks old. She is so small and so young. I think a lot about raising her, and what values I want to try to instill in her. I think about how she will see me—will she respect me? Think I am cool? Overprotective? Inattentive? I think about what activities we will bond over. I think, I worry, I wonder. And I put together a sampling of songs that I will someday share with my daughter. Songs that remind me of her, that bring me peace, that I hope will inspire her.
Dream Disciples – “Cobalt (Blue)”
My daughter has the most amazing blue eyes. When she was pregnant, my wife and I would talk about what features we hoped our daughter would inherit from us. We both agreed that it would be perfect if she inherited the shape of my wife’s eyes but my eye color—which is exactly what happened. So whenever I am feeling down at work, I look at pictures of my daughter, and there are always these enormous blue eyes full of wonder staring back at me to cheer me up.
Apoptygma Berzerk – “Pikachu”
I have always loved this song, but I have a new appreciation for it now that I am a father. It was written about the singer’s baby daughter, and it is about those moments at four in the morning when you are exhausted and on the verge of tears…but then you look down and your baby is sleeping peacefully, dreaming about whatever babies dream about, and all the anxieties of life melt away.
There is a bit at the beginning of this song spoken in Japanese which translates to You’re like Pikachu / small but strong / most importantly brave and for some reason those words just overwhelm me emotionally because that is exactly how I view my daughter. She is so small, but she has such strength about her.
Anathema – “Dreaming Light”
Suddenly, life has new meaning…
This was the song my wife and I danced to at our wedding. My life was changing so much right then. And now it is changing again. Having a child is equal parts exhilarating, terrifying, overwhelming, and stupefying. So much changes literally overnight. But no matter how scary and hard the change is, I am always put at peace knowing just how much I love my wife and daughter.
My wife told me that she considered having our doula play this song right when she gave birth, and I am so glad she didn’t end up doing that. I already tear up whenever I hear it, and if it had played in that moment, I’m sure I would have overloaded emotionally and cried even hard than I already did.
Lights – “Lions!”
Lights is an artist that can always bring a smile to my face. No matter how glum I may be feeling, throwing on a Lights album lifts my mood because her music is just so gosh darn upbeat and positive. While technically “Lions!” is all about World of Warcraft, it is also about facing down challenges and being brave in the face of adversity. I want to help instill my daughter with that quality
SubRosa – “Troubled Cells”
Growing up in a religious family is not always easy. “Troubled Cells” is about struggling with your faith. The singer, Rebecca Vernon, is specifically addressing how the Mormon Church excommunicating gay members who get married and forcing children of gay parents to renounce their parents if they want to be baptized. I am sure my daughter will face crises of faith and struggle at times to reconcile how religion can preach acceptance and love, yet be so rife with bigotry and hatred. I just hope she errs on the side of kindness, and knows that I will always accept her, no matter what she believes.
Kenny Loggins – “Danny’s Song”
My wife actually suggested this song, but I am always on board for Mr. Loggins. It is a song about starting a new family and being in love. There is a lot I want to teach my daughter, but mostly I hope she learns just from watching me. And I hope I can show her just how much I love her and her mother. Because at the end of the day, that is all I really want—to let my ladies know just how much I love them.
Paul (’10) lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Emma (’10), and cat, HandsomeMarcoCat. He loves board games, Babylon 5, and honey-curry chicken. Everything else is negotiable.