Boosting fatherhood with a blog
(originally written on April 15, 2011)
I’ve been a Metallica fan since 1996.
Wow. I think that’s the first time I’ve actually put a year on my discovery of Metallica.
Anyway. So I’ve been a fan for 15 years. Through all of the changes and battles they’ve had in those years, I still feel a connection to their music without rival. But as I aged and matured, I began to think about the future. How would my high school passion for their energy, angst, anger, and rebellion carry over to a mature adult?
One of those songs that gave me such ponderings is “Enter Sandman”. This song was transformational for Metallica’s career, but piqued my curiosity for its exploration of childhood nightmares. I wondered if I would view the song differently if I became a father. What would change in how I heard the sounds and understood the lyrics?
Now here I am. Sitting in my cluttered office at the stroke of midnight watching a YouTube video of the MTV ICON Metallica show, listening to them talk about the band and their songs, including Enter Sandman. But more importantly, my two-and-a-half year old son is sleeping in the room next to me. He’s had his own issues with the Sandman almost since birth and like most kids, battled night terrors.
His imagination is such an incredible gateway for his future. He can create incredible beauty and darkened fear. Inspiration, anxiety, opportunity, creativity, panic, dreams, nightmares and a million other constructs will come from his imagination over his lifetime. But for now, he’s trapped in the innocence and exploration of childhood in which his realistic images will bless or burn his dreams.
Those dreams are the subject of “Enter Sandman”. The song is especially important for me recently as we’ve had to eliminate my wife from my son’s bedtime routine. As long as I’m the only one who puts him to sleep, he seems to sleep through the night. That’s a horrible choice we had to make, but it is for his benefit and certainly temporary.
“Exit light. Enter night. Take my hand. We’re off to never never land.”
These are those moments I wondered about. I now know how this song would change for me. I have a son. I put him to bed. He has had those horrible dreams. He has those “beasts under your bed, in your closet, in your head.” I would do anything to help him defeat the monsters plaguing his mind. But all I can do now is hold his hand and try to give him comfort before the night enters.
Things change as we get older. Becoming a parent changes them more than anything else. One of my favorite songs from my favorite band has changed for me. And I have my son to thank for that. He has helped me answer a question.
Thank you, my son.