Dear Holly: How The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” Song Makes Me Think of You

1 year, 5 months.

Dear Holly,

One of the highlights of my day is to come home from work after a long day and a long drive home, to take care of you while Mommy prepares dinner.

I always ask her how much time she needs, which is usually around 30 to 45 minutes. As I carry you outside for a long walk or a stroller ride around in our neighborhood, I have this involuntary habit of saying to you, in 3rd person about you, “She’s so sweet. She’s precious. And I love her.”

After I finally realized I was saying that out loud, I immediately thought back to the 1964 song by The Beatles’, “And I Love Her.”

I give her all my love
That’s all I do
And if you saw my love
You’d love her to
I love her

Bright are the stars that shine
Dark is the sky
I know this love of mine
Will never die
And I love her

The song only peaked at Number 12 in America, so it was never one of their well-known hits. But for me, I guess I am realizing it is a song of from their library that has always resonated with me. Perhaps it took you to help me realize that.

I have never loved anyone the way I love you. It’s a special bond that has taken experiencing to understand.

It’s like you are a literally a special little angel and I have been appointed to care for. My job is to protect and nurture and adore you into adulthood. But the entire time, I ultimately know you are never really mine. You are a gift. You belong to God and I simply was selected through divine intervention to be your caretaker.

This is the only way I can explain how much I love you.

Love,

Daddy

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Top 10 Beatles’ Songs For My 2 Year-Old’s Playlist

March 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm , by 

2 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Because I’m usually the one to put you to bed at night, as well as for your daytime naps on the weekends, I become responsible for knowing the lyrics to lullabies.

Unfortunately, I don’t know any.

So you’re pretty much stuck with hearing me sing parts of the very few songs I actually know the words to…

“Jingle Bells,” “Away In A Manger,” “How Bad Can I Be? (from The Lorax soundtrack),” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Then, out of desperation for new songs last week, I started singing “Let It Be” by The Beatles. After all, it’s pretty easy to remember the words when most of them are “let it be, let it be…”.

You now ask me to sing it to you every night. So I had an idea… why don’t I let you hear The Beatles’ version of it?

On the way to daycare Monday, I played “Let It Be” for you over the stereo speakers thanks to my old-school iPod with an extremely cracked screen.

Your response: “That’s a man?”

I then explained to you that yes, Paul McCartney is a man.

From there, I introduced you to “Yellow Submarine,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “Come Together,” Here Comes The Sun,” “All You Need Is Love,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “I Am The Walrus,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” Then I made you a playlist of those 10 songs called “Beatles For Jack.”

By Thursday, you told me that The Beatles are your favorite band and that your favorite song is “Yellow Submarine.”

It turns out, The Beatles made some pretty good songs for a 2 year-old. The songs that ended up on your playlist are filled with bizarre nouns that you recognize like “walrus,” “egg man”, “octopus,” and “submarine.”

Plus, several of those songs include random sound effects, like the interlude in “Yellow Submarine” or the chorus/title of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”

Speaking of, you love it in “Come Together” when John Lennon says “shoot me” throughout the song. You think he’s just saying “shoop,” or making some weird animal sound, so I’ll just let you believe that until you’re a teenager who appreciates irony.

You have a dad who is obsessed with good music. I have over 800 albums on my iPad, but The Beatles are definitely my favorite band ever.

I think it’s so cool that you like them too. When you get a little older, I’ll tell you all about the “Paul is Dead” theory, based on their album covers like Abbey Road.

This makes me happy. I just didn’t realize we would get to start bonding so early over good music. I thought you’d be at least able to ride a bike first. I’m starting you young, kid.

 

Love,

Daddy

dad from day one: The Magical Mystery Tour… For Babies

Week 3.


In the aftermath of four baby showers, it’s easy for me to see that Jack has been well cared for by friends and family.  One of my favorite items of his is his pair of “vitamin socks” (featured above).  Maybe they’re supposed to look like little capsules from Dr. Mario; I don’t know.  But the fact that they have the word “vitamins” on the bottom of them makes them so classically random that I wouldn’t be surprised if they were designed in Taiwan.  My favorite part of his vitamin socks is that we have no idea where they came from.  We pull just pulled them out of his drawer one day and had them on Jack’s feet before we realized how hilarious and mysterious they are.

My parents recently bought Jack a swing, which is best for helping in to take long afternoon naps.  It has these three bears that fly around in circles over him.  Sometimes I feel that the things that work best for making him happy are the ones that make him feel like he’s tripping through the outer space of an alternate baby universe.  It doesn’t help that as he is swinging back & forth and up & down that “Sun King” from The Beatles’ Abbey Road album is playing in the background as I speak to him in a low voice right into his ear, “Jaaaack… I am your fah-ther…”  And when he’s not in his swing, it’s still so natural just to pick him up and fly him through the air like he’s Superbaby.

With some of his toys, I have been surprised at how they actually do what they are supposed to do.  We regularly use a Sleep Sheep that along with music and rain sounds, also has a “whale button”.  The harmonious conversations of actual whales at sea do indeed soothe Jack, even if they sort of freak me out.  There’s also this star we received that displays ocean scenes on the ceiling while playing our choice of either lullabye music or makes water sounds.  I never would have thought it to be the kind of toy we would actually use every single day, but it is: It works.  When it’s time for him to settle down for the night, we turn on the star and Jack becomes both mesmerized and hypnotized.

Being a baby must really be a trip…  I mean, what would you think if everyone talked to you in a high-pitched, slow motion voice and when you looked down at your feet, you realized they had turned into puppy dog heads?

dad from day one: Actor Turned Director

Twenty-nine weeks.

It took me 12 straight days to teach myself to solve the Rubik’s Cube; it was during this time that my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby.  Of course, we didn’t tell anyone until over a month later, but during my “learn to solve a Rubik’s Cube” phase, I had several people crack themselves up with this joke: “If you’ve got the time and patience to solve that thing, it’s time for you to have a kid!”  And they were right.  My instincts were making it obvious that like so many actors, the time eventually arrives when it’s time to dabble with directing.

(Cue the song “In My Life” by The Beatles as the proper soundtrack as you read the rest of this post.  It’s officially my favorite song ever.)

I can look back on my life with satisfaction, knowing that my accomplishments have outweighed my failures and regrets.  I have met all kinds of interesting people from all over the world (most of whom are facebook friends).  I understand the meaning of life.  I am solid in my beliefs on the afterlife.  I have married the woman I am meant to be with.  I can now solve the Rubik’s Cube in two minutes and twenty-five seconds.  And though this paragraph may resemble a goodbye letter to the world as I prepare for my life to come to an end like I’m 90 years old, I recognize that in some ways life as I know it will end, as it transforms into a new one.  A more meaningful one.  From “me” to “dad”.

On top of all this, I’m about a half a year away from turning 30, so yeah, I’d say it’s time for things to stop being about me so much and more about someone else.  I have been the protagonist, but soon I will become a full-time director.  All of life has prepared me to this new role.  The cynic could see it as circular reasoning- that you spend your youth learning how to become a responsible adult, and then once you do, you just do it all over again with modified little reruns of yourself running around.

But I would say the cynic is still under the assumption that life is all about him- that life either simply ends when he dies or that hopefully when he dies, he’s been “good enough to get to Heaven” or that at least Hell won’t be that bad, but instead just a big party where the temperature is slightly hotter than desired while Jimmy Buffett plays an eternal concert and the margaritas are never-ending.

If anything, I could see how raising a kid will be a redeeming and cleansing process, helping me to see how little I truly know, helping me to appreciate my family and childhood teachers more, helping me to straighten out my priorities even more, helping me to ultimately give more than I take.  I could see how this baby will ironically make me a better adult.  And how the humility of changing diapers is only a small part of this evolution of my life.

And yes, Baby Jack will probably already know how to solve a Rubik’s Cube before he gets to Kindergarten.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

Lowercase Punishment

“Cruel and unusual punishment” is a relative term.

Today as I was driving back to work from my lunch break waiting at a red light at a major intersection consisting of 3-lane roads, there was this guy in a big pick-up truck who basically ran a red light in the midst of a lot of traffic. And I thought, “If only a cop was here to catch him…”.

Then I thought, “What if I had the power to obtain and punish him myself?…” The way I would want to punish him is by annoying him, for his crime of causing a potential wreck that could have affected a lot of people.

What if I could punish him without taking anything away from him? What if I could simply freeze his mind for one nanosecond in real-time, but in his mind, it would be for any amount of time I choose? Like I could freeze him for 20 hours in his mind, and everything he saw in that nanosecond would not move at all, like an annoying skip on a DVD? It would not affect his body or future at all. He would not miss anything.

Think of it this way: Sometimes you’ll wake up from a dream and it feels like you were dreaming for hours, even all night- but in reality, most dreams only last less than a minute. What seemed like hours was only seconds.

Now imagine having the power over someone to control their unconscious state for only a second, but during that fraction of a second, it would feel like however many hours, days, or years as you wanted. But the person’s eyes would be open so they had to look at the same thing during what felt like a long time.

The criminal would not age any faster than the rest of us. But if someone did something very bad, you could freeze their mind for a nanosecond in real time but 30 years in “dream time”. It would kinda be like purgatory, except the criminal couldn’t move around and nothing in sight would move neither. It would bore them out of their mind.  But we couldn’t let this power get into the wrong hands. Good thing I’m not a mad scientist.

For a similar post by the same author, read Capital Punishment, In Theory.

“Help us someone, let us out of here. Living here so long undisturbed, dreaming of the time we were free. So many years ago before for the time when we first heard ‘welcome to the Home by the Sea’. Sit down, sit down as we relive our lives in what we tell you.”
-Genesis/ “Home by the Sea” (1983)

“In the delusionary state, no wonder he’s been feeling strange of late. Nobody here to spoil the view, interfere with my plans…Steady, lads…and easy does it. Don’t frighten him! Here we go…”
-Paul McCartney/ “Mr. Bellamy” (2007)

“Such a mean old man…”
-The Beatles/ “Mean Mr. Mustard” (1969)

Stranger than Deja Vu

Sometimes DJ’s read our minds…

Here’s a unexplainable mystery that has happened to everyone at least once in their lives. I get a random song in my head I haven’t heard or thought of in years, then it comes on the radio later that afternoon. What would cause that DJ to want to play the same random song and what would cause me to happen to listen to that same radio station at the exact same time he played it?

In August of 2007 I was in Dallas for the Great American Trucking Show (made famous from my photo albums on facebook). As I sat down in the hotel lobby to wait for the charter bus to take me to the convention center, The Beatles’ song “Hey Jude” was playing. In particular, it was the end of the song, “Na na na na… hey Jude…”

Ten minutes later I stepped up into the bus and as I found a vibrantly decorated New Mexico–style embroidered seat, the elevator music version of “Hey Jude” was playing. And it just happened to be the end of the song: “Na na na na… hey Jude…”

During my lunch break today I was in a store picking out a card when I heard the worst song ever recorded in history. I’d never heard it before. But it was awful. Sounded like they made up the melody on the spot. Or lack of melody, I should say: “I… miss… you”. Sounded like Amy Grant in the late ‘80’s. As I paid the cashier teen boy, also named Nick, I said, “So the radio station here. Sucks, don’t it?” He politely agreed.

An hour later I’m back at work. I call our legal guy to ask him a question about a title for a vehicle. I’m put on hold. There could only be one song in the universe that plays in elevator music form. Yes. It was “I Miss You”.

This “hear a song on the radio, then the next song I hear is that song, but the elevator music form of it” event has happened to me twice in the last two years. With a little help from some co-workers and a consultation with Wikipedia, I found out more about the worst song ever recorded in history. “I Miss You” was a 1985 hit by a group called Klymaxx.  It’s worse than any song a Hollywood actor recorded during the 5 months they tried to also have a career in music. It’s bad, man. Bad.

Not important in the grand scheme of things, but if nothing else, this “deja vu song” concept sometimes happens to us.  During what would have been another ordinary day. 

Do you, the random or regular reader, have any weird stories like that?  I’m currently collecting them in my mind.  It’s fascinating.  You can leave a comment about it.  I will care.  I will read it.  I will be fascinated.  I want to know this truly doesn’t just happen to me.

Just Be

 To be?  That is the question.

Like a baby discovering his hand in front of his face for the first time, sometimes I get these profound revelations that were there all along, but I never really grasped them before.  Yesterday, it hit me: “Be”.  The verb “be”.  While it can be used in so many different ways and instances, it’s a pretty deep word to think of it in its most simple human terms when relating to one’s self.

To be is to exist. 

Take away any adjective or noun that could follow “be”.  To not “be” anything.  Just to be.  What does it mean to just simple be?  To simply exist. 

Is it all the day to day tasks we do each day?  Driving, working, eating, resting?

Is it simply being alive?  Having a heartbeat?  Breathing?

It’s too deep for me.  I don’t know how to “be”.  How exactly do you “be”?

At least, I don’t know how to “be” myself- though I know how to be myself, by not being someone else.  But I can’t “be” alone.  I can sleep in a house by myself but that’s being alone, not “being” alone.  Where this is going is this: “Being” makes a lot more sense when someone else is “being” too. 

It helps to observe the lyrics of a legendary rock song like “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2:  “I have climbed the highest mountains, I have run through the fields…  I have run, I have crawled, I have scaled these city walls, these city walls… only to be with you”. 

This is sort of song that stops people in their tracks when they hear it.  So full of passion.  A song everyone can relate to, even if they can’t relate to the major spiritual undertones.  If a person simply just hears this song they will most likely walk away subconsciously agreeing that they still haven’t found what they’re looking for.  And, that they would go through extreme measures, only to “be” with another person.

Whatever “being” is, it’s something that is accomplished with other human being who is also “being.  And that’s what “being together” is.  “Being”.  Together.

I am constantly trying to corner down in my mind what it is to “be”, so that I can “be” with everyone important to me in my life.  There’s that annoying balance of figuring out what are truly life’s distractions (worrying about money, getting stressed over uncontrollable things like future plans, etc.) and still doing the things it takes to be a responsible person (working, providing, supporting, listening, teaching, etc.). 

Sometimes deliberately focusing on something so simple can be the hardest thing to do.

“Now an ambulance screams, while the silliest things are flopping around in my brain.  And I try not to dream up impossible schemes that swim around, wanna drown me insane.  And don’t know how to slow it down.  Oh, my mind’s racing from chasing pirates.”

-“Chasing Pirates” by Norah Jones