“Mommy, today’s lesson was hard.”
“Is it because you didn’t practice enough?” In these final days of summer, structure—and instrument practice and pants wearing and tooth brushing—has been of little concern. Case in point, my son changed from his pajamas into clothes just before and only because of his 5:30 p.m. drum lesson.
“No, it’s because it was complicated. I learned the flam.”
“What the heck is a flam? I’ve never heard that word before.”
By the time we reached the car, he explained that it’s when you hit two drums at two different heights at almost the same time. Or something like that. On the drive home, he showed me the flam using the passenger side dashboard as a drum.
“The car is not a drum!” I scolded him, only half-believing the words as they came out of my mouth.
Not to be outdone by his older brother, my little guy who began taking guitar lessons earlier this summer piped in from the backseat with, “Oh yeah, ‘Eddy ate dynamite good bye Eddy!’”
“What the heck is that and who the heck is Eddy?”
“Low E. A. D. G. B. High E,” he said proudly. “It’s music notes,” as if it were obvious to everyone in the world but me.
“Woah, kid. That’s a lot of awesome information.”
And because sibling rivalry is absolutely a thing, my front seat drummer boy upped the ante with the presentation of a seventeen stroke roll. On the dashboard. Again.
My kids were schooling me. “What in the world is a seventeen stroke roll?”
I didn’t discipline him for using the car as a drum again because his explanation and demonstration of a seventeen stroke roll was explosive. Also, I was too busy being in awe of (1) how much stuff my kids know and (2) how much stuff my kids know that I don’t.
I’ve been stumped many times by my boys. Minecraft realms, YouTube “vids,” and ridiculous text talk come to mind, but that knowledge gap feels generational. You know, In my day, we walked uphill…in the snow…both ways!
At school, common core math has been a major stumbling block. Don’t even get me started on multiplying mixed fractions, but there was once a time when I knew how to do it (I think).
Flams, stroke rolls, and Eddy’s dynamite, though, were way outside my hula hoop.
I’m not my kids’ only teacher (nor should I be!) but it’s startling when knowledge and skills from other sources surpass my “mom” curriculum. Even more, it’s humbling to witness them learning things I never dreamed of learning myself.
When we got home, I asked my son to teach me how to do a seventeen stroke roll. On the stairs to the basement where the drum set lives, he explained that there were five, seven, and nine stroke rolls, too.
“Okay. I’ll try a five.”
I did it, but it was awkward and my hands moved in slow motion compared to my son’s machine-like rhythm after more than a year of lessons. His drum skills were impressive, and it was an utter joy to find myself in his hula hoop. I think he quite enjoyed it, too.
I fumbled through a seven and a nine stroke roll just for the fun of it before handing the sticks back to the professional. Upstairs in the kitchen, I asked my younger son to tell me more about Eddy and his dynamite while I marinated chicken. He happily obliged.
These little human beings belong to me, but they are not mine. Their hearts and minds and curiosity and drive will take them to hula hoops far away from mine, and I can’t wait to see what they teach me next.