Friday, August 24, 2012

One More Round Of Applause For The Kid

NJ turned 3 the other day, and a while back I decided that I'd write this blog's last post in honor of that occasion. Mainly for reasons outlined here.  (This is probably no surprise if you've noticed the dearth of posts the past few months.) There is one more story I'd like to share, though, before I sign off. It's about NJ and Paul McCartney.

A few years ago, my wife and I had only been expecting a few days when I heard Macca's then-new single. 'Dance Tonight' is the kind of song he's been writing for 40 years -- simple, sweet melody, nice beat, lyrics that get straight to the point, however slight that point may be. "Listen to this, it sounds like a children's song," I said. Then I read that he wrote the mandolin-heavy ditty, pretty much filler in the McCartney songbook, because his 3-year-old loved dancing when he played that instrument. As a prospective father-to-be, that warmed my heart. And since I can't play the mandolin, I vowed to play 'Dance Tonight' and dance around with my child when he or she was ready to dance.

A few weeks later we miscarried. I did the best I could to comfort my wife, and I held myself together pretty well (I thought). Until I was sitting at my desk the next day, sort of zoning out, when this song popped up on the iPod. I was so overcome that I kind of went numb for a few seconds before shutting off the music, getting up and storming out of the room. It was a bad night.

The thought of the song always took me back to that place, but I never got rid of it because I thought that would be cowardly, somehow; I skipped over it once, I think, but I have thousands and thousands of tracks and it certainly didn't come up often. It did come on again, though, about two years later when my wife was about four months along with NJ. I immediately felt a catch in my throat and a rush of bad feeling, very Pavlovian. But my wife was happy (as happy as a pregnant woman can be) and healthy, and NJ was, too. This was different. I skipped over the song that time, too, but it was more of a don't-jinx-anything move instead of despair.

Once NJ was here, bright and fresh and new, I never sought out 'Dance Tonight' on my iPod. The first time it came on NJ was more than a year old, not quite walking but otherwise up and about. She was in the room, too, and I'll tell you what: We danced. Since then I've dialed it up on the device a lot, sometimes with NJ and sometimes without her. It always makes me think of her. It usually makes me cry, too. Always has.

Oh, don't worry. He'll probably write stuff here once in a great while. He really can't help it.


  1. you're a lovely dad and husband to your lovely daughter and wife. i'm going to miss your blog, so maybe you and the ladies should just come over for a playdate. i promise not to make things awkward by being nice to you in person.

  2. Hi,
    Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Fatherhood Community? Our members will appreciate it and as the father of 3 teenage boys, I will too.
    Members include: Fathers, Dads, Daddies, Fatherhood Lovers, Experts and Fans.
    It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also share Photos, Videos and Articles if you like.
    Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
    Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
    The Fatherhood Community:
    I hope you consider sharing with us.
    Thank you,
    James Kaufman, Editor