It’s amazing how things can change in your life. As the years have passed me by, I’m always looking for the next challenge and I have certainly been presented with many, but no more so than right now.
A little bit of a back ground to my life if you haven’t read my blog before. I’m 48 years old and a full time musician. A drummer actually, gigging wherever that may take me and teaching in schools as well as privately. This job can have its demands, but it’s perfect for my state of mind and outlook on life. There is nothing better than seeing one of your students grow from a keen beginner to a brilliant player or playing in a great venue with people enjoying themselves.
Being in my forties you would expect me to have children, and you would be right. I have a son aged 24 and a daughter aged 21, and they both mean the world to me. Over eleven years ago I met my wife Barbara who has encouraged me beyond anything I have ever dreamt off. Encouraging me to grow as a musician and move forward to where I am today, but what happens when you get the question- Can we have children? At this point I should say that Barbara is fifteen years younger than me and I was married before.
So imagine this for a second. You’re settled in your life, have two great children and your ‘now’ wife turns around and wants children. You know what? It wasn’t a hard decision, although a little nervous deep inside. I knew this was on the cards and I remember asking all my friends what they thought. You may think that was a strange thing to do, but I was looking for reassurance from the people around me. I remember one night when I was in Canada two years ago having a few beers. Usually talking about the previous night’s show and discussing what could be better or need fixing for the next. After a while, one of the neighbours dropped around to join us for a drink. I’ve met him before, but never really discussed our personal situations. I obviously realised from past meetings that he had a young son and we started talking about being a Dad again. He himself had just turned fifty four and has a wife the same age as Barbara. His son was four years old, so the dreaded question was asked. “Have you ever dropped him off at school and somebody has asked if you were his grandad?” Yes” he replied ” but who gives a shit what anybody else thinks?” Right there my life changed and from that moment it was about me, my wife and our future baby.
Maggie May was born on 12th October 2015 and to say we’re happy would be an understatement. She is now coming up to four months old and I can’t imagine life without her. I often ask myself what was I worried about? Sometimes I even try to answer that question. As one of my friends told me, when you’re 24 starting a family you think you’re missing out, when you’re 48 you know you are not!
The arrival of Maggie has certainly made me work harder, but it has also made me enjoy working harder. I read recently in Peter Erskine’s book ‘No Beethoven’ that having a child made him play drums better. I’m not sure about that, but I certainly have a new outlook on life. I teach many kids in schools from all backgrounds and now find myself wanting to spend more time with them, nurturing their every need. Not only as a future musician, but listening to their seemingly trivial problems and discussing issues they may have at school- just making time for them.
As you can tell, it has made a difference. Will I still be gigging around the country? Dragging equipment through hotel kitchens, driving around city centres trying to find a venue, driving through the night to get home? At this point I’m not sure how long I will be playing live, I’m still very passionate about it and love a great audience reaction, but recent events have made me think very differently about the future.
The younger generation need our time, love and attention. They are our future after all. Not just Maggie May, but all children in this crazy world we live in.
Thank you for reading