Songs from the West Coast
Monday, May 8, 2017 at 06:22AM

A couple of months ago, on a two hour drive to a wedding, Rockstar and Genius announced that the best thing that Mufasa and I EVER did for them was introduce them to Elton John’s Songs from the West Coast. They were both completely ADAMANT and united in this sentiment.

What a REVELATION! Let the record show that all the huge personal sacrifices we made to feed, clothe and educate them pale into insignificance beside this one life-changing decision! 

Apparently it took place on a similar family road trip for a weekend break in Naples back in the day when they were just Middle School fledglings. According to both boys their lives were irrevocably changed by the CD (on auto repeat) which captivated them all the way across Alligator Alley. I was finding this declaration hard to fathom until Genius searched for the album on Apple Music and insisted we play it again for old times sake. Skeptical at first, I had clearly forgotten the brilliance of the songs. By the time we got to the end of Dark Diamond I was completely convinced. 

Is there anything better than a family in a car all singing along to great music? Classic sounds that have the power to make everyone feel good and will forever-after call to mind that particular time and place?

Rockstar & Genius are so vehement in their belief that the music we chose to play on our family outings influenced their development and made them the young men they now are, that I’m left wondering how differently they might have turned out if we had spent these journeys in silence or played the greatest hits of Whitesnake or Dolly Parton? It’s actually pretty scary to consider the consequences of exposing them to the wrong stuff at such a critical point of their development - perhaps they would have become selfish, heartless hooligans, meth addicts, hardened criminals, any number of horrendous possibilities.

Little did we know that we didn’t NEED to expend so much time and energy nagging them to help around the house, make their beds, do their homework, and eat their greens, Elton had it all covered. 

Of course we also sang our hearts out to Westlife, Abba, Michael Jackson, Lighthouse Family and many more. Now whenever the boys are home these sounds find their way back into our gatherings & celebrations reminding us of all our specific family history and evoking memories that are bittersweet. 

I had just about come to terms with the fact that our parenting skills were nothing more than a series of well chosen classic songs, when I was forced to confront another reality. We were visiting Rockstar in LA and during a fabulous dinner and a lot of reminiscing over his childhood memories, he announced that the BEST thing that Mufasa and I ever did for them was to move them to different schools in different countries every two years!!! What a REVELATION!!!  All this time We’ve felt so guilty for plucking them from their settled happy lives, and the friends they loved so that we could pursue our careers and now it turns out that they feel it made them better, stronger and equipped to deal with anything that life throws at them!

“So what about Songs from the West Coast?” I said

“ Oh yes I’d forgotten about that” Rockstar replied. 

Seriously???? I’m so confused - but perhaps I’m overthinking this whole where-did-we-go right scenario. The boys are grown, they are fine young men, probably more by luck than by design, and somewhere along the way perhaps they WERE singing along to Elton;


“Look Ma no hands

Look Ma ain't life grand

I'm a super power, I'm a handy man

Didn't I turn out, didn't I turn out to be

Everything you wanted Ma

Ain't you proud of me”

In their minds I suspect that there are a whole number of ‘BEST things we ever did’ and that’s absolutely fine.

Article originally appeared on Dish It Up (
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