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Friday, February 24, 2006


Yesterday was my son Connor’s 14th birthday. We had a special dinner last night (the kids get to pick the dinner menu on their birthdays from the entrée to dessert). After the sweet and sour meatballs, pumpkin pie and Krispy Kreme donuts (I had coleslaw and salmon on real cheese crackers since I’m back on the Fatkins diet) Connor opened his presents.

He got a pile of cash and Target gift certificates. He has been asking for Target gift certificates for months now because he has been saving for an iPod. And, just like his father, he's had his eye on the mother of all iPods—the 60 gigger. Accept no substitutes.

He added it all up and got a big gleam in his eye. I know the gleam well. It’s the same gleam I saw when he saved up lawn mowing money and realized he had enough to go buy his massive air hockey table. He finally had enough money to purchase the Holy Grail of the digital music world. I told him to hop in the Jeep. It was off to Target.

There it sat behind the glass case. It was beautiful. The iPod packaging alone is enough to make any music lover salivate. I love how Apple goes so perfectly overboard with packaging. It is so rock. The matte finish black package summoned us to draw near and one could almost hear the voice of Bono—pictured in the screen of the iPod on the box—saying, “Hello. Hello.” We ran around looking for a Target employee . . . excuse me . . . Team Member . . . to access the magic. She finally came and handed my son the last of the black 60gig video iPods in the store.

60gig iPod: $399.
Amount spent at the coffee shop on the way home: $5.
Look on son’s face as he realizes he now owns the coolest toy in our household: Priceless

We rushed home (after coffee) and headed straight for the computer. I gave him a quick tutorial of the whole iTunes setup and taught him how to click and drag. He then began accessing my library and dragging excessive amounts of music to the little black iPod icon in the iTunes source menu. “Dad, look! I’m dragging over the entire Beatles collection!” Followed by, “Dad, here goes the Foo Fighters.” “Is it okay if I do all The Cure stuff?” The Who. Sheryl Crow. Lenny Kravitz. Fountains of Wayne. They all found a home in Connor’s happy box.

It was a special moment for me. I realized something very cool. All the music he dragged over was music that I like. I mean, he likes it too. But, it’s mostly music that I introduced him to. It’s music that I dance to, sing to, cry to, celebrate.

My life soundtrack has become my son’s. And, even cooler than that, it has become our soundtrack.

When he headed off to bed (not because he was done but, because it was already an hour past his bedtime) he safely ejected his new toy and said to me, “Dad, I already have 2000 songs on my iPod!” We both new this would give him bragging rights among his friends but, we kept that little unspoken secret between us (just like adding “buddies” to a teenager’s Instant Messenger account—or adding “friends” to one’s My Space, there is something triumphant about adding songs to an iPod. Filling your iPod is a sort of game. I think he learned that from me as well).

I reminded him how lucky he is to have me as a dad because of my cool music collection. We both laughed and hugged—not one of those manly hugs but, one of those daddy and little buddy hugs that I so love.

I thought about Ephesians 5:1 last night. “Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.” The NIV says to “imitate God” as “dearly loved children.”

Connor has been watching me since he was born. No one had to tell him to imitate me. No one had to prompt him to like the things I like. That’s what kids do—they imitate their parents. They watch and learn. They copy. They mimic. They spend time with us and they want to be like us.

God—our Father— must smile when he sees us mimic Him. He must feel proud when we tune in to His soundtrack. I bet He’s even more proud when the soundtrack simply becomes part of who we are—it becomes our soundtrack.

I remember the first time I listened to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album. For some reason, I remember crying when I heard the song, “She’s Leaving Home.” It still makes me cry. When I hear it, it is like seeing an old friend. I played it over and over and over again. I memorized it. I starred at the pictures. I studied the myriad of faces on the cover. It stuck with me.

It was my Dad’s album.


Anonymous said...

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Talk soon.