The house is quiet earlier than usual. I can hear Margaret playing her guitar and singing in her bedroom—door closed as she would have it, but still beautiful to hear. It reminds me of Kaleigh when she was younger singing her heart out, as if the world didn’t really exist outside of her room.

EJ and I played some banjo and guitar earlier tonight. He has some pretty fast fingers on the old “banjer” and a good ear for music. At some point all of the kids, sans Charlie, were playing something: Tommy on the trumpet, Emma on her new ukelele—even Pipo picking up a few chords on the guitar. We were talking about music at the supper table, and I noted that I have never met any adult who regrets playing an instrument. Maybe something actually soaked in. On Saturday night, we took all the kids to a party at Tom Cummings house and there was a big jam session going on all night. EJ and Emma sat in a for a bit, but at least all the kids got to see the purity of experience that music brings to a community. I do want all my kids to play something, and I want them to find joy in music. Really, all I want is for them to experience true joy, and that’s what music brings to life—done right.

I can’t figure how music is done wrong. I love traveling around on Sunday mornings giving guitar and song-singing advice to a few young teenagers. They are all earnest, sweet, and love their music. My only regret is that I really can’t do the same for my own children. I teach them on the rare occasions when they come to me for some advice, but we don’t have the spare cash to give them lessons. For the most part they have done well with our rather feral approach to music and have “figured things out” on their own, but there is always this pang of guilt that I haven’t given them the same kind of chances to have a teacher, guide, and mentor for weekly lessons, though I guess they have all had plenty of chances to have a heck of a lot of fun with music at pubs and campfires, concerts and camps, and living room jams and long car rides.

I should stop now, lest I indulge even more in one of my deepest fears—the fear of becoming that overly proud parent who somehow manages to spill out the accomplishments of their children to anyone willing to listen.

But damn, Margaret does sound good.

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