Dear Holly: Your “Hold Me, Daddy!” Moments

1 year, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

Getting to be a daddy to a little girl is something remarkable. For me, it has been a completely different experience in raising you at your young age, compared to your brother when he was a year and a half.

Not that raising one child is a better situation than the other; I’m not comparing the two of you in that way. But noticeably, you need me on a different level than your brother ever did at this age.

I guess there’s just no way around it- I can’t help but think of John Mayer’s song, “Daughters”, right now.

Especially when it comes to emotional and physical support, those lyrics about the importance of a father’s influence on his daughter are spot on:

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and weight of her world

I see this on a daily basis. I see how you constantly strive for my confirmation, my affection, and my attention… even though I freely give you all those things.

On a selfish level, that makes me feel good. It serves as a reminder that in all the uncertainty I face, as a man whose role it is to convince my family that I can take care of them, that I am definitely needed and doing something right.

A few weekends ago at the farm and pumpkin patch, a chicken stuck its head out through the fence and unintentionally scared you.

Immediately, you grabbed one of my arms with both of yours; holding so tightly until the chicken pulled itself back through the fence.

Perhaps to some, that’s just a simple, forgettable moment.

But not for me. That’s a “Hold me, Daddy!” moment. That is worth gold to me.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Holly: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter on Her 1st Birthday

1 year old.

Dear Holly,

In the months leading up to your birth, I tried to imagine what you were going to be like. I pictured this sweet, happy, little girl who not only would be so special to me, but also to everyone who meets her.

Turns out, I was exactly right. You are indeed such a remarkable daughter. The only thing that caught me off guard about you is your blue eyes and your strawberry blonde hair; which make you even that much more special, especially in our family.

I am fascinated by you. I am eternally motivated to watch you continue to become Holly the girl, and eventually, Holly the woman.

There is a special bond I have with you that I have never experienced with anyone else. It’s undeniably the bond between a father and his daughter.

I love the way you look at me, for confirmation that you are indeed loved and beautiful and precious. I love giving you that confirmation.

Being your Daddy is not something I am casual about. I am quite aware of the responsibility I have in being the main man in your life during these first couple of decades. The way you see the world- and the way your see men, will ultimately be based on how you see me.

I refuse to be passive. I refuse to be dominating.

Instead, I am very deliberate to find the importance balance of being a stern yet loving Daddy.

You’ll need that from me for the rest of your life.

Getting to be your Daddy is an epic thing. I am so proud of my 1 year-old daughter.

How could I not be? You are one amazing little girl.

You are so special to me. I love you.

Happy Birthday, Holly.

Love,

Daddy

John Mayer’s Battle Studies: The Newest Installment from the Half-Jewish, Tattoo-Sleeved Guitar God

There are certain male musicians who while they seemingly have a unisex audience, it’s mainly women who are openly proud fans. Key examples: Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban.

Then there are those male musicians who seemingly have a feminine audience, yet they also earn the genuine respect of men who recognize their talent despite their charm. Key examples: Michael Buble and Jason Mraz. But the epitome of this category is none other than the 6’ 3”, tattoo-sleeved, half-Jewish, Connecticut native, John Mayer.

His most romantic songs are typically my least favorite- “Your Body is a Wonderland” and “Come Back to Bed”. What draws me most to his music is a quality found in his lesser hits like “83” and “Something’s Missing”. Half nostalgic, half philosophical.

In reviewing any genre of entertainment, I can’t say any one thing is the best. I can only say what is my personal favorite. Because my favorite is simply an opinion; I am not qualified to declare what is best- that would go beyond a matter of opinion.

That being said, my favorite John Mayer album is his 2003 Heavier Things. It features the hits “Bigger than My Body”, “Daughters”, and “Clarity” (“ah whoo-ew… ah whoo-ew”). Along with its less featured songs “New Deep”, “Home Life”, “Split Screen Sadness” and “Wheel”.

The cover of this album itself perfectly captures the style and direction of the music. It represents a simple sense of timelessness, yet at the same time somehow reminds of me of Eric Clapton and/or Sting between 1988 and 1993.

I say that to say this. John Mayer’s newest album, Battle Studies, is a hybrid of two of my favorite things of his: 1) The album Heavier Things and 2) his very much underappreciated song “I Don’t Trust Myself with Loving You” from his 2006 album Continuum.

Very bluesy: “Fell down on my knees, asked the Lord for mercy, said ‘help me if you please’” (“Crossroads”).

Very jazzy: “Who says I can’t get stoned?” (“Who Says”)

Very soft rock: “I’ve got a hammer and a heart of glass- I gotta know right now which walls to smash” (War of My Life).

I decided half-way through this decade that John Mayer is incapable of releasing an album that isn’t good. I stand by that. Battle Studies is completely up to par with all his other recordings. But just like how Dave Matthews Band will never be able to top their Crash album, in my mind John Mayer will never be able to top Heavier Things.

Actually I see Battle Studies as a direct sequel (yet not necessarily a continuation) of Heavier Things. So in other words, I love it.

A year ago I posted a review of my favorite albums of 2008, and in a prophetic moment, I praised the then unknown song “People are Crazy” by Billy Currington. A few months later it was released as a single and went to #1.

Therefore, I will predict the soon-to-be hits from Battle Studies. The most obvious is the industrial-infused groovy tune “Assassins”. John has never sounded more like an African-American lead singer of an alternative rock band than he does in this song. Maybe it’s because this song has so many Michael Jackson qualities about it.

Like it was written with “Smooth Criminal”, “Dirty Diana” and “Give in to Me” in mind: “I work in the dead of night when the roads are quiet and no one is around… I’m an assassin and I had a job to do… Little did I know that girl was an assassin too.”

Another song destined to be a radio favorite is “Half of My Heart”. Perfect catchy melody. Perfect opening line: “I was born in the arms of imaginary friends.” Perfect choice of a female vocalist to do a song with: Taylor Swift.

The only downfall is that there’s not enough Taylor Swift in this song. She just does background vocals towards the end. Every time I hear it, I keep hoping the song has magically changed since the last time I heard it and that the song has become a true duet like the immaculately crafted “Lucky I’m in Love” by Jason Mraz with Colbie Caillat. Great song though: “Half of my heart is a shotgun wedding to a bride with a paper ring.”

Often when a musician or actor becomes a superstar, showing up in the tabloid magazines, the authenticity of their art suffers. Despite dating Jennifer Anniston and Jessica Simpson (to name a few) , his art hasn’t suffered (just his personal reputation). He’s still got the talent. Just as much as ever. Going beyond the rut of “the same three chords” compositions and “I miss you baby” lyrics.

And not that this takes away from his music at all, but this lifestyle definitely shows up in his song content. Like in “Perfectly Lonely”- “Had a little love but I spread it thin. Falling in her arms and out again. Made a bad name for my game ‘round town.” It’s also evident in the future hit which will inevitably be featured on several romantic comedy soundtracks, “Heartbreak Warfare”.

Gone is the charming, mysterious John Mayer from the beginning of the decade. Gone is the gentleman. Apathy and aimlessness are starting to show up in his attitude and lyrics. I don’t like his music any less because of it. But I do recognize the change.

Though this may actually be hurting him with his current single, “Who Says”, which is his lowest charting single, breaking his string of 5 consecutive Top 10 singles. This song much departs from his former classy charm, containing lyrics like this: “Call up a girl I used to know, fake love for an hour or so” and “I don’t remember you looking any better. Then again I don’t remember you”.

Not to mention the song’s constant references to marijuana use.

John Mayer is suffering from what I call “King Solomon Syndrome”. King Solomon had it all: Extreme wealth, fame, and wisdom. And 700 wives. And 300 concubines. But by the end of his life when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, he said it was all meaningless. None of it made him happy.

At least at an early age, John Mayer recognizes something’s missing.

Related Post by the Same Author:

John Mayer’s Stupid Mouth  http://wp.me/pxqBU-wz

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on John Mayer, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:

dad from day one