It’s here! The official start of the summer solstice, which means that now it can officially start to get warm. Hear that, Mother Nature? You can start now. I guess those 100 degree days in Nashville were just ‘warm-ups’ (pardon the pun…). When I was a kid, I played Little League baseball. I would stand in right field in sweltering summer heat daydreaming – I mean, how many hits really made it to the outfield – wishing that for just 5 minutes it would snow, just to cool everything off. With this climate change, I may get my wish. I don’t know how you feel about the Earth being mad, but I’m not a fan. Plus, we’re killing bees and fish at the same time. But that’s another debate for another time. Today, we celebrate. (and not my little league baseball career)
Father’s Day was yesterday, so I hope you were able to celebrate as a good Dad should : in a hammock. Or if you were a good wife, you let him watch the race (or the game, or the A-Team reruns), and had his favorite dinner consisting of the big piece of chicken. Father’s Day is interesting. It’s easy to be a Father, when do you really become a Father? Since I am still a new Dad, I am figuring it all out, however, for those that don’t know, or are newer than me – here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Steve’s guide to being a Father: Be there. (This one is tricky for me, since I am gone a lot). Being there doesn’t mean physically all the time, but being accessible, by phone, FaceTime, text, whatever – is so important. We want our children to know that we are going to be there for advice, bail, gas and hamburger money, or to dust them off and help them up. Instill this early, and pay attention. Nothing is better than having discussions with your children, even at age 18 months, because they always have a lot to say. Which brings me to the next step- listening. Listen to your baby. They are speaking volumes, even before the words come out, and they want to talk with you. All the time. You are tired, hungry, mad at life, whatever – it doesn’t matter. Talk with your babies, because keeping the lines of communication open will go far later on. Last quick tip for being a Dad – make them laugh. A lot. There is nothing more soul-filling than sharing laughter with your kids. Don’t ever lose sight of this.
I have to admit, I am a bit of a hypocrite. I have spent years saying that holidays just don’t matter – especially the Hallmark ones – but leaving for a one-off the day before Father’s Day just about gutted me. (Alert – Steve’s feelings are showing). I know it’s just a day on the calendar, but more than anything, it was that I had a show on a Sunday, which is typically a great family day for us. I cherish every minute I have with my family. And don’t worry, we mastered the water slide at the pool on Saturday, so I had a lot of good baby time. And yes, I was there to catch him – every time.
And speaking of shows, let me tell you about ours. It was in Cadott, Wisconsin, where a whole lot of people camp for the weekend, party like rock stars, and watch a lot of country music. I think I’ve played that festival 5 times now with varying artists, and they treat us very well every time. I saw some old friends, made some new ones, and had a ball. Some observations…
First, what is the appeal of partying for 4 days straight? I think my body can handle 2-3 at best, but I think I would just shut down if I had to drink for 4 days. Second, why is it called ‘Cornhole’? Third, is it even legal to deep fry butter? Discuss.
I hope you have some great plans this summer. I am crisscrossing the country over the next few months with Phil, with the exception of this coming week, which is the Summer NAMM show, being held in Nashville. I’ve written about the NAMM show before – it’s just a big ol’ trade show where new musical gear is rolled out, and dealers come in to buy things for their stores. For musicians, it’s a big toy store, and hopefully we don’t spend all our allowance in the process. I also see friends I haven’t seen since the last one, so it’s a great excuse to catch up. This year I am speaking on a panel (Saturday at 1PM for those wishing to attend), and doing some interviews, so hopefully I can give some decent advice and help the kids in their musical journey.
So now get outside and enjoy yourselves! It’s Summer. Use sunscreen, make healthy food choices, and don’t kill the bees. And for the love of Pete, make plans now to attend Summerfest in Milwaukee. I KNOW Paul McCartney is playing on the opposite stage at the same time (did I just hurt our crowd by mentioning that?), but we may do some Beatles just to help ease (our) pain of not being able to attend. AND if you only see one baseball game this year – make sure it’s at Wrigley or PNC Park. Best parks in all the land. Happy hotdogs, folks.
On a serious note – hug your babies and tell your friends you love them. We’ve lost some wonderful people this week, and there are other friends going through a lot of health problems. Cherish these moments. All of them. That’s why holidays are for the birds – every day should be a holiday!
See you on the road!