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Mum 101 – Frankie Rose on SLE

today1 March 2021 162 2

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Mum 101

Where words leave off, music begins….

One day I was necking Kings Acre Cider at uni, bouncing around to the Stone Roses. Early hours of the morning I passed out in the arms of some grungy media studies student, belly full of cider, heart full of soul. When I woke up, I was 49, heading towards the big 50, slightly panicked, still feeling like I was making my way in the world, but all grown up surrounded by important letters, suits and laptops, responsibilities and… a teenage daughter.

I tell you this because I seriously cannot believe how fast time goes by, people come and go, relationships start and end, life twists and turns. (Life is a rollercoaster by the great Ronan Keating has just popped into my head. Strange.) Anyway, as my teenager grapples with this crazy COVID oppressive world, missing her friends, exam confusion and feeling rightly pissed off in general, I try to do what the other grownups do, act level-headed and calm. Anyone out there who has one of these wonderful little humans will know how tricky the path to ‘Cool Mum’ is – am I saying the right thing? The wrong thing? The same thing again that I forgot I said already? But I try. Because that’s what Mums do. But all is not lost. If I’ve really f**ked up and get the silent treatment, I’ve found two things in my mothering, smothering armoury to get us through – a car drive and music.

A car drive – who’d have thought?

A – a captive audience (she can’t jump out and abandon me, well she hasn’t yet). B – it’s less threatening (for me that is) and C – she can play her tunes to her heart’s content, a happy silence. I must say the idolisation of Taylor Swift can be a bit repetitive, but she’s happy, I’m happy and we relax letting the notes, drums and beats flow over us in our unspoken understanding. No exams, no pandemic, no isolation, just the music. Now and again when I’m feeling brave, I’ll suggest a song – I hit the jackpot with Linger by The Cranberries. But first, an initial shrug of her shoulders and no post-song analysis. Thinking I failed miserably, the next week it was the first song she played, even asking me to sing along with her (great harmonies, well, as good as I could muster as a 30-year smoker). Two gold stars on the Cool Mum chart. Feeling even braver as the musical analysis began to flow between songs, I suggested that a 1975 song sounded like My Bloody Valentine – well sure enough, she discovered they were one of the band’s influences. I was getting good at this.

Back home she asked me to watch Paul McCartney’s Carpool Karaoke. I reluctantly agreed as although I had The Beatles greatest hits 30 years’ ago, I didn’t really like Paul on his own. Not the same. Twenty minutes later, I was in tears as Paul swept through Liverpool on a magical musical wave of positivity and kindness. Yes, music really can make a difference.

As I sat in the car last week hearing Linger for the 50th time, I was swept away back in time to student days, almost smelling the grotty students union, feeling how I felt then. And 30 years later, singing it with my girl, helping her create her own musical memories, enjoying the power of the notes and their unique comfort pushing us through this mad reality.

When words leave off, music begins…

No screen time, no words, no body language cues. Just magical music that can make any mum seem cool.

Written by: Frankie Rose

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