The best part of me is my kids, both of them, Dan and Anna. This post is about the boy, we had a full weekend together. A couple of hundred miles driving to and from CT and then working at a local concert yesterday for 12 hours. Friday night we drove to Chester CT for the Ellis Paul’s New England Songwriters Retreat. I take photos, Dan joins the classes and song circles. We were there 10 minutes, and Dan is leading a song in a room filled with some of the most talented singer-songwriters this area has. Like it is nothing; he is having a blast strumming and singing an acoustic version of the Friends Theme Song, <clap clap clap> as they all joined along. An hour later he is sharing two of his original songs in smaller group song circles where everyone gets to showcase their work in front of Ellis Paul himself and others. This was his second year at the retreat; many people remember him from last year and stop him to catch up. I got to bounce from class to class for photos, and not more than 10 minutes go by before I am asked if “I am Dan’s Dad?” He is the youngest there, but he is beyond his years in how he handles himself at these events. It is just pure pride to watch him be him, be the man I wish I were at his age. The best moments are the random songs that broke out, Dan playing blues songs and riffs with 70-year-old men who are asking him if it is ok to jam.
Then the Labor Day Bash, Dan helps out as a stagehand, hanging with the local musicians, many who have seen him grow up over the years — plugging in, lugging up and just keeping the gear and the day running. This year he got to play as part of the Acoustic Showcase to kick the event off. He was one of many talented musicians entertaining the crowd, again the youngest, but holding his own. Another occasion where many would rather talk to me about him, than me, which to be honest is always preferred.
Though the best part is just the drives, of the moments in between all this stuff. The random conversations I get to have with a talented 18-year-old who happens to be my kid. Who sees the world like no other. I swear he can see music notes as they dance by us all. He shares plans on what he will do with this talent, but still shows the signs that he might need my guidance now and then, keeping me in a job. We were asked as we sat in the lobby of the retreat this weekend “If we knew each other?” by a person who was trying to figure out if we were related since most people at the event were alone in the group. I joked “we have met before” before outing us as father and son. Truth be told I meet him a little more each day, each time we get a moment to talk, or I get to see him interact with others, my favorite time to meet him is through other people telling me their thoughts. I truly love who I know and looking forward to meeting him even more, like I said he is the best part of me, so I am curious.