There should never be an open book policy in parenting. You need to cultivate your brand carefully with your children so they will view you as a strong, virile man who can play all sports well and knows Karate and is very possibly a spy when he leaves for work every day.
So I have taken great pains to hide my marching band past from Elijah and Luca. I was the poster child for “band nerd” from age 10-18. Undersized, acne prone, lugging around a silver mouthpiece in his mom’s velvet Chivas Regal bag. In our basement, I’ve buried a pile of Normal Illinois “Pantagraph” newspaper clippings featuring my feathered blonde hair under a marching band helmet. I prefer my sons believe I played bass guitar for “Pavement” in the 1990’s.
Imagine my surprise when Eli suddenly and passionately took an interest in band at school. I arrived home late from a recent New York trip and was ambushed by Eli and Luca, literally screaming my name (Dad) from upstairs. I figured they had a new Lego set to show me or wanted me to marvel at the massive amount of mold our tile guy found in our bathroom.
When I climbed the steps, I was greeted by a wary looking Diana. “They’re really excited to see you,” she said with the enthusiasm of a mom whose son just discovered the French Horn. In fact, her son had just discovered the French Horn.
“Look! Look! Dad! I got a French Horn! Just like the one you used to play!”
First off, I did NOT play the French Horn. French Horns are for pale, skinny men who wear all black and are usually named Marcel. I played Baritone Horn. The beautiful love child of the Tuba and Trombone. Second, how in the world did he know I played in band? Yes, I do give off a certain “hiding a secret about band camp” vibe. But I was shocked he knew.
As Eli farted out a few notes and I instantly felt so, so sorry for my parents when I was growing up, Luca began to describe the instrument he wanted. “It’s long and gold and has those buttons and sounds like this…fert fert fert.”
“A trumpet?” I asked.
We decided then and there to start a little jazz trio and Diana started looking at Michigan cabin real estate listings.