That phrase has been ingrained in my mind thanks to my daughter. Each time I read it, it takes on an even deeper meaning.
The recent death of Mac Miller hit me hard. Many adults probably have never heard of him. To me, he is a connection to my daughter. What? How does a foul mouthed rap singer provide a connection to a teenager? Allow me to explain.
Years ago, when my daughter was in high school, she started listening to Mac Miller. She was far and away ahead of the curve of his popularity. There were one too many times I yelled at her to “turn that crap down” and we argued about it. She yelled back, begging me to “Just listen, mom. He’s amazing”
Eventually, I did listen. Eventually I saw a bit of my younger self.... a teen passionate about music. Eventually I did come to actually like, but more importantly, appreciate his music.
She made a CD to play on the car and would demand we all listen. She got angry when Best Day Ever came out making Mac more popular. When people jumped on the bandwagon she would spout "They don't even know any song from K.I.D.S...." When Blue Slide Park was released, I raced to download it from iTunes for her and it was then on repeat for weeks. But "Get Up" was the song that stuck with her. She cut out the letters individually “life goes on days get brighter” and taped them to her wall. When she got her first tattoo.... it was those same words on her ribcage.
When Mac Miller came to play the Rave in Milwaukee, she pleaded with me to drive her to see the show. I remember I was not thrilled to be driving her and her friends but I did it, softening as I drove and felt their excitement. I dropped them off in line outside the venue and remember feeling both proud and terrified. You see, I love live music, especially in a smaller venue. I value live music as a transformative experience. She was my oldest. This was new to me. I know general admission venues, having been to my fair share, but this was her first time. I knew the thrill and nerves having felt the same but it’s different as a mom. I remember parking on a quiet street close to the venue and reading by flashlight(I was not alone as other parents were parked doing the same!), waiting for her call telling me that they needed to be picked up. When I got that call and picked them up, the energy and joy was palpable. I know that feeling. I have felt that feeling before! I listened to them chatter the whole way home and that night is one I will never ever forget.
When Mac Miller came back the Rave. I drove again. It was that same excitement all over again but this time I felt privileged to be driver. The last time he performed there, she went with friends. I missed being the driver and spending time with them.
Prom season rolled around and my daughter started a twitter campaign asking Mac Miller to take her to Prom. She trended for a while and this was thrilling! She ended up taking a local boy to prom but I always thought that Mac missed an amazing opportunity to spend time with one of his biggest fans.
I’ve made a ton of mistakes as a parent. I mean colossal screw ups. I am far from perfect. I own each and every one of those mistakes .... many of which I will spend a lifetime apologizing for. Some of those mistakes have caused this same daughter to distance herself from me. However, each time I hear a Mac Miller song, I can not help but think of my daughter and some of the things I have done right as a mom. One thing I think I did right was to give each one of my children a passion for music, especially live music. Another thing I think I may have done right is to teach my kids to value experiences over items.
My daughter and Mac Miller have taught me some valuable life lessons. Listen to the music your kids listen to, ask them why they like it and don’t always tell them to turn it down. Drive them to concerts and let them go in without you. Listen to your kids when they are with friends, when they are alone and when they are quiet. Strive to understand and appreciate all the little things that matter to your kids.
I will miss the poetic genius that is Mac Miller. I will be forever grateful to him for the connection he created between my daughter and me. I will be forever grateful for the memories he helped me create with her. I will be forever grateful for the lessons he taught me as a mom and a human.
Addiction and mental illness are serious. We, as a country, need to do more to reduce the stigma allowing people to seek help. We, as a country, need to do less criticizing and more caring. Because life DOES go on and days DO Get brighter.
RIP Malcom McCormick
Forward is a Pace