If you haven't been reading about the mixtape for my daughters, go back and read my intro and part one that covered tracks one through five. The first section of the mixtape was all about introductions and welcoming my girls to the world. The second section is all about gifts. Either gifts that Erin and I have been given or the gifts that we can pass along to our daughters. Once again you can click on the song titles to listen to them.
6. Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
As a fan of High Fidelity (which inspires my mixtapes and top five lists), I am well aware of Jack Black's question about Stevie Wonder's top five musical crimes perpetuated in the 80s and 90s. This song happened to appear on Songs in the Key of Life, a.k.a. his greatest work, long before he resorted to Ebony and Ivory with Sir Paul. This is also an old standby when it comes to a new father reflecting on the gift he has just been given. It doesn't hurt that Stevie Wonder is an all-time great that writes beautiful music in spite of his later crimes. I ask myself all the time what I did right to be blessed with such beautiful, wonderful, precious and lovely girls. And I think that comes back to the biggest point of the song which is that a child should be the product of love. Ana and Grace definitely qualify. Love is the only thing in this world that multiplies when you give it away, and my daughters will always know that they're here because of how much their mom and dad love each other.
7. Blessed - Elton John
There is so much uncertainty when you first have children. They can't walk or talk or even move themselves. You don't really know what they'll look like before they are born. Really all you can do is dream about them and anxiously wait to meet them. But the one thing you do know is that you'll always give them the best that you can. You'll give all of your self to them and ask for nothing in return. It's really the only promise that you can give to your children. And that is what I get from this song. You will bless them with the best life you can no matter what. This song speaks to the selflessness that is being a parent. You give them everything you have simply because they are your children and you love them. I want my girls to have all the blessings I can give to them.
8. Worried Shoes - Karen O and the Kids
The movie version of Where The Wild Things Are seemed to elicit either a love it or hate it reaction (a lot of that coming from how universally loved the book is). I happen to fall into the Love It category. It wasn't just your standard children's movie. It dealt with themes of isolation/loneliness, being forced to grow up too fast and the expectations we have for children and how they sometimes can't emotionally comprehend these expectations. What really worked was the perfect marriage of movie and soundtrack. Karen O and the Kids (basically Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs and a bunch of children) perform all the songs on the soundtrack. The music is beautiful and haunting and at the same time fun and frantic. It really seems to mirror the emotions of Max, the little boy in the movie. All Is Love is the big showstopper and a wonderful, soaring song, but Worried Shoes is a moment to catch your breath and reflect on everything. I also love the first line "I took my lucky break and I broke it in two". I'm sure it is supposed to be interpreted another way, but I like to think that I got this lucky break (a child) and broke it in two (twins). It is a sad song about regret and worry, but it ends on a hopeful note of letting go of that worry because it will just take you away from enjoying life.
9. Forever Young - Bob Dylan
First of all I love the show Parenthood. I'm obsessed with it. Especially the character of Adam Braverman (played perfectly by Peter Krause). He is my fictional hero. He is the dad/husband/son/brother that I strive to be. I hope I'm the rock for my wife and siblings. I look forward to being a father of children/teens and not just babies and hope to emulate some of what he does on the show. The reason I mention Parenthood is their use of this song by the incomparable Bob Dylan in the opening credits. And it is a wonderful song with great message by the greatest songwriter that America has ever produced. I hope my girls have everything that Dylan mentions in this song. Help others but don't be afraid to ask for help. See that they are always surrounded by family. Be strong and courageous. I hope they always keep the joy of a child in their hearts, and that they don't grow up too fast. My biggest hope is to instill all of those qualities in them. That they learn how to be courageous and strong from their dad. That they see their father's generosity and give just as much. That they learn enough humility to ask for help when they need it (something I still work on). It is one thing to wish that they have all this; it is quite another to show them the path to get it.
10. Princess - Matt Nathanson
I must say I don't like the whole princess culture. What I mean to say is grown women that refer to themselves as princesses which ultimately translates to some sort of entitlement. It has to start young and become some form of arrested development, or maybe they are just overly enamored with the Disney movies they grew up watching. I don't want my girls thinking that everything should be handed to them, so I will try to squash the whole princess thing if I can. I do know however that it is somewhat unavoidable since little girls love dressing up and playing the part. So part of this song's inclusion is tongue in cheek. I wouldn't include it without some great music and lyrics. Especially the entire last verse "You're ready for greatness. All edited weightless, never more alive. And oh dear how they'll whisper your name in time." I'll try my best to give them everything they need and not just everything they want. I'll teach them to be strong and independent without expecting the world owes them anything. They'll be ready for that greatness because they'll work for it. But I don't want to take away all of their innocence just yet. I guess they can be my princesses for a little while...
Continue on to part three in my breakdown of The Gallawa Girls Story and read all about playing and having fun.