Rachel Irving

My sister has alien superpowers

The Playlist.
To my daughters,
Music has been a splashy dashy life soundtrack to me, but your father has always been selective, and has good music in life as a dogma. So when you fall out with friends who like Bieber or One Direction, and I say that you have to accept that other people have different tastes, he'll just tell you that you're right, they're wrong. All things considered it's no wonder you have varied tastes, and tolerant friends.
Many who choose to be a parent are also making the choice not to be a rockstar. He still plays, and you've often made that happen. I play nothing, I sing badly, you learned from many teachers, not only your dad, but never me. There were, of course, beautiful long haired hippies in San Francisco, and later Hud playing drums for Charity and the Jam Band, that was your first live gig somewhere in the Mission District. There was a Laura, a sweet voiced nursery teacher singing us melodies from Africa, China and Ireland and "Take me out to the ball game" so that we'll always "root root root for the Giants". Later there were piano, guitar and violin teachers, a loathed school recorder teacher, some much loved school harmonica lessons. Now the house is full of instruments and still sometimes you all want to drum on the same plastic cup.
I love that you can all play instruments. It will serve you well, not just the discipline of practice, and let's face it that doesn't always happen. It will probably be a help if you plan to keep telling people that they are wrong to be into bland boy bands. Your father doubtlessly added weight to his arguments with his musical education and a small stack of stringed instruments to back him up. Also I think about your great grandmother and how music is still such a big part of her life, even if she no longer plays. Often weekends when I phone, the radio is on, and I can imagine her singing along to a familiar tune.
All I have given you is the playlists. Music that blasts you out of bed to go to school. Defiant Mondays of punk, soothing acoustic Tuesdays, Wednesdays weird with William Shatner and world music, grunge anthem Thursdays, and Fridays of happy alternative rock relief. You have made your own music and found your own favourites. That's as it should be, it's wonderful that you find music made by your contemporaries and that you make your choices from internet corners not unquestioningly from the pap of commercial radio. It is also rather charming that you play Bowie songs that were old to your parents, Bing Crosby songs that were old to your grandmother, Al Bowlly songs from Hen Mamgu's day.
This is, in no particular order, a playlist of your growing up. It is hard not to skew it towards the most recent songs, the ones you listen to now and have learned to play. There's a California lullaby. There are memories of pre-school Alice pogoing in the Vancouver Island rain. There are visions of Lauren tolerating Toronto middle school with guitar calloused fingertips. There's the day that Amy Winehouse died and Grace lost a musical heroine. There are songs from sad and happy times, because music has always been there.