Drum and Fife vs. Tabor and Pipe

I've been busy at work, which is good, but it's been hard seeing Nugget so seldom. I've been thinking about the reversal in traditional gender roles in my family--my husband is home with Nugget while I work full-time--and wondering if men find it so hard to miss so much, and to always feel like their spouse knows the baby better. Is it easier when it's the way things have always been? I suspect it is. If nothing else, they don't have the worry that people are judging them for being an unnatural mother--how can she be at work at 8 o'clock at night instead of home with her baby? She must not be that into motherhood. Maybe she hasn't bonded with the baby. The ironic thing is I've had similar thoughts about other women. I could kick myself for it now, but it makes me more sure that people are thinking those things about me. I don't love my baby any less because I'm at work all day (and sometimes night). I truly believe that I'll be a better mother if my whole life doesn't revolve around my son, and I've been trying to be a laidback parent, but the thing that gets in the way of that the most is the judgment of other people--whether it's real or just in my head. Our society seems to value intensive parenting (even as it ridicules "helicopter" parenting and decries "the overparenting crisis"), and the amount of judgmental scrutiny parents come in for is truly astonishing. Someday soon I'll be trying to teach my son to follow the beat of his own drum, and I'm trying to practice what I preach now. It's not easy.


Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?

I just replaced my ipod, which died quite a while ago, and am once again enjoying music on my commute. I've always loved the way a walkman/discman/ipod gives my life a soundtrack that gives meaning to everything I see. I love the juxtapositions and ironies it creates, like listening to The Ramones on my way to work for the Establishment the other day. The way Strauss's waltzes synchronize perfectly with the movement of the city is one of my favorite combinations. I have a vivid memory from probably ten years ago of listening to a friend's mix that included a Native American group who combined traditional singing and drums with a modern rock sound--the song became an angry lament that haunted the glass, steel, and concrete canyons of downtown Chicago I walked through.

Music can create a still, even spiritual, center as the sights of the city wash over me. I used to say I wanted to found a church and have worship services that consisted of piling everyone onto a bus and driving around the city listening to music and watching the world go by. Somehow music lets me see the world from a godlike perspective of detachment and peace, and yet also recognizes and celebrates the joy and heartbreak swirling around me. It's not detachment in the sense that nothing matters, but rather that everything matters, and it's beautiful.

I've often said, with an only slightly tongue-in-cheek touch of melodrama, that my lack of musical ability is my great personal tragedy. There's nothing like it for capturing the meaning of life, and I wish I could wield that kind of power of expression.