Tuesday, June 9, 2015

King of the World

king of the world
We'll never speak of this horrible movie.
Among the many songs Shayera asks me to add to her playlist, things come up that I am not immediately sure I should add. Sometimes I'll tell her I'll do it later, because I am not sure if the lyrics are entirely appropriate. But for the most part, I just get excited when she asks me to add something that I like, so I just go ahead and do it. This isn't about a song that was inappropriate, though. This is about something else that happened a few days ago because of this enthusiasm to add to her musical experience. This is about how as parents, we can make a connection with our kids by being honest and how our relationship changes with them as they get older. I'm really enjoying the conversations I'm able to have with her now that she's six and curiouser and curiouser every day.

I was downstairs and heard the song coming from upstairs when Shayera suddenly asked her mother "what does she mean she's the queen of nothing and the king of the world?" I rushed up, not because I didn't think my wife couldn't handle it, but because that's the type of thing I live for. And sure enough, halfway up, after going through some of it I heard my wife say "but let's ask Papi, and see what he thinks."

The song was "King of the World" by First Aid Kit. It's a song that I absolutely love, especially because of the lines near the end "I wasn't born for anything, I wasn't born to say anything, I'm just here now and soon I'll be gone." To me that pretty much sums up the whole song and my goal in life. To be able to really live in the moment is the struggle we all go through, no matter what you may or may not believe. So, although that wasn't the line Shayera was asking about, that she was asking about this song at all was an opportunity to engage in a real conversation with her about art, interpretation and life.

Sure enough, we both told her that what it meant to her was just as valid as what it meant to us. We talked about what it meant to be king of the world and queen of nothing. Not owning anything but being the king of your world in your moment and nobody could really take that from you. And I talked to her about how that's just what I thought the song meant, but it was possible that the singer meant something else. And that was fine. I even brought up Pearl Jam's "Alive" and how Eddie Vedder originally meant the song ironically, but after his fans took it triumphantly, the meaning changed for him. It's one of my favorite stories about song meanings and one I've mentioned before here.


By the end of it, I realized I was maybe getting carried away but she was still looking at me intently, not really getting most of what I was saying. I said "too much? over your head?" and she said yeah. Seconds later, she came over, hugged me and said I love you, and maybe I was imagining it, but I felt like she was appreciating that I was not talking down to her and that I was sharing something of importance with her. And in that moment, I was the king of the world.

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