For those of you new to our particular style of parenting, you should know that when we mess up and do something potentially scarring to our children, or at least do something not worthy of a Parent-of-the-Year Award — as we often do — we will brush it off with the phrase: “Put a dollar in the therapy and move on.” Often we say it ironically, like when they complain about doing chores. But sometimes we say it legitimately, like when Larry unknowingly walked out of the shower while Elliot was in the room fetching something. (Poor boy.) The therapy jar concept give us the penance and release cycle while still being amusing. In fact, very dear, very funny friends of ours actually found us a “therapy jar” piggy bank, which never fails to delight (or horrify, depending on the person).
Which brings me to the most recent time when we felt obliged to put some virtual money in the ol’ therapy jar. We had a houseful of company. Four smart, vibrant, beautiful, witty women were staying at our place for the weekend. One of them is my dearest of dear friends, and the other three were her dearest of friends. We had just had an AMAZING dinner of Larry’s homemade pizza (the stuff of which legends and songs are written). We were enjoying some wine when Larry got out his guitar. Our guests were huge music fans and before you knew it, we are having a little pickin’ and grinnin’ session.
Now Larry and I love pickin’ and grinnin’. We play and sing our favorite tunes all the time. We do this at home. We do this in New Hampshire. We do this at musical festivals. We do this when camping out. Hell, we even did it in Sweden last summer. It’s our source of entertainment and has been forever. So the kids have grown up to the sound of singing and playing. And lately, Meredith has been expressing more interest in participating, but she can be shy. So it was a delightful surprise, when — in front of company — she asked if she could join in. Sure!! She has a sweet voice and is always fun to be around.
It was later, while in bed, I stopped to wonder what our new friends must think of us as seen through the lyrical lens that spilled out of our young daughter’s mouth. We hadn’t given it too much thought before, but a lot of these bluegrass, grass roots, Americana songs aren’t exactly kid stuff. Here’s just a quick list of examples we sang that night with our friends and family:
From Oh Mama: “Oh mama, sing me a love song. Pour me some bourbon and lay me down low.”
From “Still House” “tell all your children that hell ain’t no dream, cuz satan he lives in my whiskey machine.”
From If it hadn’t been for Love: “Never would have loaded up that 44 put myself behind the jailhouse door”
From Jamie Dear: Cold front frost of the window pane. Bottle of whiskey and a pile of shame.”
From Wagon Wheel: “Caught a trucker out of Philly, had a nice long toke.”
From Papa loved Mama: “Papa loved mama, mama loved men. Mama’s in the graveyard papa’s in the pen.
From Good Lord Lori: “D Queen’s dry so I bought us both a bottle at the downtown broken bow.”
And the list goes on. They are all amazing songs and a lot of fun to sing. So, yeah…. we figured that night we owed some money in Meredith’s therapy jar. And if she ever decides to go our for the school talent show, we’re gonna have to write a hefty check for her teacher’s therapy jar too.