Mu­sic-minded con­ver­sa­tion

The Calvert Recorder - - Classified - Twit­ter: @right­meg

This col­umn ran on Feb. 15, 2017.

I get slap-happy af­ter 10 p.m. It wasn’t al­ways that way, of course. A decade ago, I thought noth­ing of at­tend­ing col­lege classes un­til mid-af­ter­noon, com­ing back to Wal­dorf for a book­store shift and get­ting home around mid­night — just in time to study a bit (af­ter a late Lean Cui­sine din­ner). It wasn’t weird for me to get to bed around 1 a.m., ris­ing a few hours later to do it all again.

That makes me laugh now, of course. As a 31-year-old with a tod­dler about to re­turn to the deliri­ous new­born life, I can only re­mem­ber that bound­less en­ergy fondly. I have no de­sire to stay up un­til the wee hours, but I would def­i­nitely set­tle for not pass­ing out open-mouthed dur­ing prime­time TV.

It’s the lit­tle things, you know? My hus­band went out with friends Satur­day, get­ting home “late” (about 8:30 p.m.). I han­dled the bed­time rou­tine with Oliver, breath­ing a sigh of re­lief when he didn’t fight me to go up­stairs. The steps have be­come a game to him: we let Ol­lie climb up with a par­ent close be­hind, and the thrill of as­cend­ing each stair is like a win­ning lot­tery ticket to our young son. He doesn’t fight us to go to bed . . . be­cause stairs are in­volved. Guess that’s a par­ent­ing win?

Once Ol­lie was set­tled, I changed into pa­ja­mas and con­sid­ered go­ing to sleep my­self. With six weeks un­til my due date with baby No. 2 [now a 1-year-old], I know we’re on bor­rowed time — and any time spent sleep­ing is an in­vest­ment in my san­ity. But I’m al­ways torn by that per­sis­tent de­sire to “do some­thing” once I ac­tu­ally have a minute to my­self. Lately, that’s meant catch­ing up on bad real­ity TV or, in a rare burst of en­thu­si­asm, or­ga­niz­ing baby girl’s room and clothes. But, you know. Mostly TV. When Spencer re­turned on Satur­day, I was mirac­u­lously lu­cid. I wanted to hear about the event he at­tended and de­vote some at­ten­tion to the words ac­tu­ally com­ing out of his mouth. Like many folks (es­pe­cially in long-term re­la­tion­ships?), I can be guilty of ask­ing ques­tions without al­ways lis­ten­ing to the re­sponses. While Spence is pa­tient with me, preg­nant Me­gan — or Preg Meg, as I’m known th­ese days — doesn’t al­ways ex­tend the same cour­tesy.

But Satur­day? We talked. Re­ally talked — for at least an hour — about the day’s ad­ven­tures. I’d man­aged to take Oliver over to my sis­ter’s place (mostly) in­de­pen­dently, and Ol­lie had en­joyed him­self play­ing with a friend’s young kids. It’s hard not to feel like a he­li­copter par­ent when my son is around other chil­dren — a rar­ity for him. He hangs out with his day­care bud­dies, of course, but I’m not there to see it.

Spencer lis­tened to my ran- dom thoughts and ob­ser­va­tions, then vol­un­teered the sto­ries of his own af­ter­noon and din­ner out. “Look at us,” I thought, “hav­ing a full-blown, co­her­ent con­ver­sa­tion. At night, no less.”

The TV hummed softly while we talked, even­tu­ally click­ing over to a mur­der-mys­tery play­ing in the back­ground. I flipped the chan­nel only to stum­ble upon an in­fom­mer­cial ad­ver­tis­ing a mu­sic com­pi­la­tion of “best of” hits. This par­tic­u­lar one — Time Life’s “Rock & Ro­mance” — promised a col­lec­tion “filled with rock’s most mem­o­rable bal­lads and best love and re­la­tion­ship songs of the ’70s and ’80s that take you back to those spe­cial times in your life.” Sud­denly, I was cap­ti­vated. It was late. High off the eu­pho­ria of still be­ing awake, Spencer and I were both sucked into this 30-minute seg­ment play­ing snip­pets of tunes we know mostly as the sound­track to our par­ents’ youth.

I grew up on those songs, too. They did take me back. My par­ents came of age in the ’70s and mar­ried in 1980, wel­com­ing me five years later and my sis­ter three years af­ter that. By the time Katie and I were old enough to ap­pre­ci­ate mu­sic, my mom and dad had raised us on a steady diet of Fleet­wood Mac, Genesis, Jour­ney, Chicago, For­eigner and Peter Framp­ton, among oth­ers.

I might not have awk­ward high school prom mem­o­ries at­tached to “Sep­a­rate Ways” or “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” but I have dis­tinct rec­ol­lec­tions of run­ning around the liv­ing room like a nut with my sis­ter with those songs blast­ing. We would twirl un­til we col­lapsed with my par­ents’ stereo cranked up and the house win­dows open.

The ’80s-era fash­ions in the videos ac­com­pa­ny­ing “Rock and Ro­mance” were the ic­ing on my Mem­ory Lane cake. I in­stantly rec­og­nized hair­styles that Mom and Dad had fa­vored and smiled at the huge glasses that were so pop­u­lar back in the day. Any of those folks could have been my 30-some­thing par­ents — the par­ents I re­mem­ber from child­hood. That was bit­ter­sweet.

Some­times I think about how Oliver and his sis­ter will in­ter­act with mu­sic as they grow up. Stereo equip­ment, record al­bums and CDs have been re­placed with iPods, smart­phones and a dig­i­tal me­dia li­brary with ear­buds and Blue­tooth speak­ers. I’m so out of touch with that mu- sical world, I barely rec­og­nized the names and faces at Sun­day’s Grammy Awards. (Ex­cept Adele, ob­vi­ously. And Bey­oncé. Be­cause: c’mon.)

We don’t lis­ten to songs much at home, save the odd tele­vised con­cert that Spencer leaves on for the joy of see­ing Oliver spas­ti­cally tod­dler-dance. But I can’t imag­ine rais­ing my son and daugh­ter en­tirely without mu­sic. Am I al­ready too far gone?

Hard to say. Though for a mere $135, I could bring the whole “Rock and Ro­mance” set into our house­hold. Maybe it was the slap-happy 10 p.m. click­ing around on my smart­phone, but I was briefly tempted. I’ll blame it on be­ing con­scious af­ter sun­set.

We should start smaller, though — like with the ra­dio.

Spas­tic tod­dler-danc­ing for every­one.

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