Music to my Ears

Jessie and I have different tastes in music. With Jessie now almost a teenager, she often rides in the front seat of the car. As a result, control over the car radio has become an issue. Jessie calls it, “channel chaos.” Let’s begin with her thoughts.

Jessie, Age 12
Today, we have been talking about the difference in opinion that Dad and I have in the best type of music to listen to in the car. Dad likes Christian music, and don’t get me wrong, I do too, but I have other preferences. I like listening to today’s pop and country. As soon as I get in the car, I change the station to pop or country. That’s not exactly Dad’s thing, but he puts up with it.

Another reason he should feel inclined to change is that I recently rode in the car with my granddaddy. I realized that the station he was listening to was one of the pop stations I listen to! I asked him if he wanted me to change the station, as I figured it wasn’t his thing, but he wanted to keep it on that channel. Later, I told Dad that Granddaddy was ahead on the new music, and he wasn’t. I figured that would convince him to enjoy my music, but it didn’t. Now, let’s get back to Dad. I am sure he will have something to say about this.

I do have something to say, and it’s not that I’m afraid that Granddaddy is more hip than I am. First, when Jessie said she changes the radio station to “pop or country,” she neglected to breakdown the percent of time she chooses each. I like country music, but this is a small fraction in comparison to her pop choices.

Apparently, pop is a pretty broad category. The Barry Manilow ballads I enjoyed as a teenager sounded a lot different than the rapping stuff Jessie likes. When I listen to music, I want to understand the words.

I have no problem that Jessie and her granddaddy have similar tastes in music, though I doubt he would like everything she plays. Let them rock on with quality grandfather-granddaughter visits.

Jessie’s phrase that bothers me is, “As soon as I get in the car, I change the station.” Somehow, Jessie has become dictator of the radio. As soon as the ignition key turns, Jessie’s index finger hits the radio scan-seek button, pressing it at warp speed, until she finds a song to her liking.

Jessie has a strong personality, like her mother, and is a take-charge kind of person, also like her mom. However, I’m still Dad, so though I often give Jessie great leeway in music selection, volume, and frequency, I can still set boundaries. Okay, Jessie might be able to extend those boundaries by twinkling her pretty eyes, but I don’t want her favorite artists to replace communication with Dad.

Several weeks ago, Jessie and I drove home from a visit with her grandparents. As soon as we got in the car, Jessie reached for the radio button.

“No, let’s talk for a while.”

We talked throughout the half-hour trip home. No radio.

As I parked the car, I said, “Wow, we talked the whole way home! Wasn’t that great?”

It turns out the chat was more exciting to me than her. But quality communication time with Jessie is something I don’t want to lose.

With a daughter who loves all kinds of music, I’m confident music will continue to fill our days. Some of the time I’ll like her choices and sing along. Other times, I’ll tell Jessie to turn down the volume, change the station, or I’ll do it myself. She might be faster, but I’m still capable of operating all parts of my vehicle. And there will be more times when the radio will stay off and we’ll talk. Who knows, depending on the topic of conversation, I might be the one who wants to hit the radio button and turn up the volume. Tween girls can be more difficult to understand than rapping pop music.

But whether our car trips are filled with music or conversation, or conversation about music, one thing is certain ’tween daughter and dad, I love my girl and my girl loves me. That love will show in our daddy-daughter talks. I might not like everything I hear, but more times than not, our conversations will be music to my ears.

Until next month, remember to cherish the moments. Happy Holidays! Enjoy listening to some of your favorite songs during the holiday season.