I consider myself quite cosmopolitan when it comes to music. Some of the most profound memories of my childhood and adulthood are recanted with the playing of a particular song.
My first record album: Michael Jackson’s Thriller. My first cassette tape: LL Cool J’s Bigger and Deffer. My first CD: En Vogue’s Funky Divas. While deployed to Iraq, it was Renee Fleming’s operatic voice that sang me to sleep every night.
As a child I recall some evenings when my father, weary from his day as a soldier in the Army, would nurse a cold Lone Star while listening to Willie Nelson and George Straight.
My mother was known to drift off to sleep wearing large cushiony head phones that boomed with her Oldies but Goodies collection. (When sneaking out of our apartment as a teenager I’d creep up to Mom’s bedroom door and if I heard the muffled sound of Oldies but Goodies, I’d simply walk out the front door). I can still hear her mumbling “Stop! In the name of looove…” in between her snores.
One hot summer, while we were dating, Ranger (my husband) and I blazed across 5 southern states in a 1985 Ford pickup with no air conditioner, a plume of smoke behind us, and a hole in the fuel tank while listening to Led Zeppelin’s entire music collection.
The time when I start complaining about the current generation’s music has not yet arrived. I’ve become the Mom in the mini-van singing along to everything from Britney Spears to the White Stripes. Whether or not to get the XM Satellite package with my Honda Odyssey was a no brainer. When Ranger discovered an old school hip hop station on XM it was like Christmas in July.
So, as you can imagine, my iTunes playlist has just about every genre you can think of. My kids LOVE music. This is not an overstatement. Big J, aka Lord of the Dance, recently was a ring bearer at a wedding and ended the night with a large crowd of women clapping around him as he did his best Michael Jackson tribute.
Yet one thing I never gave much thought about was the censorship I would have to do on my music library when choosing the “shuffle” option because the kids were around. I realized this not too long ago when Cyprus Hill’s “Hits from the Bong” came on the stereo while cleaning house with Middle L nearby.
You haven’t lived until you see a two year old do the baby dance to the Bong’s smooth melody. I realized that she had no clue what the words were, and like a true lover of music, was simply dancing without modesty to the song.
You can skirt by listening to most music stamped with a “Parental Advisory” sticker around your two year old. But take caution when they reach five. On our way to school one morning, Limp Bizkit’s “Nookie” came on the radio (the 90’s channel to be exact).
In a fit of passion (cue in: “That’s my sooong”) I started to sing along until I heard a little voice behind me saying, “Mommy, what’s the nookie?” Party foul. Turn the music off. The whole time I was singing along I thought Big J was plugged into Little Mermaid on his DVD player and headphones. But I think that my little karaoke moment intrigued him so he took his headset off to see what I was singing to.
Soooo…a tale of caution, my friends. I’m sure I’ll be that cranky old woman screeching at her kids for her Wu Tang CD. Until then you’ll find me in the mini-van either singing “Liar” with Henry Rollins while the kids are plugged into their movies OR sulking behind the steering wheel singing “Treasure, treasure, find that treasure!!” (Backyardigans) for the millionth time in a row.