Earbaby and I share a lot of common interests. We both take dance classes, piano lessons, and have a longtime association with our church. Of course, I made those decisions for her about all her classes and raising her in a community of faith. But as she gets older, some of these things she'll have to decide for herself whether to continue.
One of the things in which she has started to depart from me is her taste in music. Since she was young, I have adapted to her tastes, although I still love Top 40, some rap and hip-hop, jazz, classical, blues, and some of the soul music of my youth. But there was still room for Barney, Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and sometimes the Wiggles. Later, there was Raven-Symone, the Cheetah Girls, Hilary Duff, Aly and AJ, then Hannah Montana, Emily Osment, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, and a few other Disney or Nickelodeon-inspired singers and actresses.
Some of these artists are still on her radar. We've found common ground in some artists like Christina Perri and Taylor Swift. She fell in love with Michael Jackson, an icon from my childhood, but sadly only after his tragic death and the movie This is it came out. She missed out on the growth of this tortured genius, but luckily his music won't be forgotten.
But EB departs from me in her sudden love of heavy metal. She started with alternative music like Evanescence, then moved on to Black Veil Brides and now has discovered Children of Bodum, which sounds like screeching to me. The one song she played for me sounded like torture. She says it makes her feel alive.
I am giving her leeway with her music. We both draw the line on sexually explicit lyrics, violence against women, bad language, and other inappropriate lyrics. She's uncomfortable with swears in songs and suggestive songs in the realm of Katy Perry. She asked if she would be allowed to go to a heavy metal concert in a year. I told her no, that concerts and concertgoers weren't right for her. I am aware of the drugs and inappropriate behavior and told her. She doesn't object. She's had the concert experience when she was younger, seeing the Cheetah Girls and Jonas Brothers in a Christmas show. She was seven. It was innocent and fun. No one was passing joints or pushing ecstasy.
She wasn't disappointed when I told her no. She likes the music and although she wants to see live shows, EB's tastes evolve on an almost weekly basis.
I like that we have common ground on some popular songs. We can turn up the radio and sing out at the top of our lungs in the car. But I have to let her find her own voice in music. It may sound like torturous screaming to me, but if it speaks to her, I have to respect that. I don't want to be the parent who tries to be cool, try to act too young. But I do want to be attuned to her tastes, even when I can't name that tune.