Although released the year that I graduated from high school, this song takes me a shorter way back to when one of my kids was in high school. “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” was released by the Clash in 1982. While I was familiar with the song, I wouldn’t have much interest in the song or the group performing it until my own kid became hooked on punk rock for a good portion of his teen years.
My son’s interest in punk rock introduced us to an entirely new culture- one that I, personally, would have been happy to skip. Along with his interest in punk rock bands, his clothing changed. He was ahead of the trendsetters, creating his own skinny jeans long before boys wore them. He and his friends would take their jeans apart and piece them back together for a tighter fit, meticulously hand-sewing them. His favorite band t-shirts were also altered for a more streamlined fit.
There have been defining moments in my parenting career. These are phases or individual events that stand out even more so than fond memories. In this case, it was a turning point and over ten years later, it still resonates as one of the “big” ones. My teenage son seemed to turn into a stranger overnight. His clothes were tight and sometimes strange. His hair was longer than mine. He was rocking an attitude that can only be described as surly . His music was new, unfamiliar and because of his appearance and demeanor, scary to me. My sweet boy was gone and I did not like the kid who took his place. If I didn’t know him, I would have thought that he was one of those kids out partying and getting into trouble. I didn’t want to think that he was one of those kids. But I have always been very realistic, and I did not want to bury my head in the sand and pretend that there was not every possibility that he was one of those kids. I was terrified that I was going to lose him to a lifestyle that I could not condone. I remember reaching a point where all I could do was hope and pray that we had built a strong enough foundation to see him through.
I remember it like it was yesterday and one reason it is at the forefront of my mind this morning is this song.
As I was contemplating songs for this post, scrolling through our music library, which contains every album any of us in the family has ever downloaded, I came across our punk rock offerings. They are quite extensive.
I was interrupted when the kid who is the subject of this post stopped by on his way home from work. I don’t write about him much. More often than not his kids make appearances in my posts, either in anecdotes or photos. He was still wearing his uniform from work, which is emergency services. He is clean cut and often mistaken for a police officer. There is no limit to the number of times that I can say how proud I am of the man he is today.
So when we were amidst that horrible phase, I guess you could say that this song represents more than just my son’s taste in music because we (my son, husband and I) all were faced with the choice of staying or going. I’m really glad we stayed.
This week Hugh shared a song with a dramatic opening for 51 Weeks: 51 Songs From the Past. This post was inspired by Hugh’s. I would like to thank Hugh for this cool feature on his blog. I’ve been introduced to many new songs and reminded of oldies that I had forgotten. I can’t wait to see where Hugh takes us next in his time machine.