The Music of Me


Growing up, I was surrounded by music. It didn’t matter what genre it was, if my dad considered it “good music” we were listening to it. Mom was all country, southern gospel, and Whitney Houston. Dad filled in the rest of my childhood with Air Supply, heavy metal, and countless other artists I grew to love. One of my earliest memories is holding the CD case for Def Leppard’s greatest hits.

From the beginning, our home was filled with the sweet sounds of music playing from the time we got up on Saturday mornings. As I got older, I discovered my own love of alternative rock and pop, blaring bands like Mayday Parade on repeat in middle school. I’d cry over a song with beautiful piano or dance like nobody was watching to Van Halen’s electronic sounds.

In high school I’d come home to find my dad sitting on the back porch listening to a new album and I’d find a spot next to him because I knew it was music worth hearing. College came with my very first iPhone and access to music streaming, which changed the game for Dad and me. At least twice a week, I’d get a text from him with the name of a new song I was guaranteed to love. On the weekends, I’d still find him out on the porch with a new artist or album that I’d immediately download for myself. After a while it became a habit to send any and all new songs to him.


It became a conversation of sorts, sending songs to each other. We wouldn’t have to talk about much else because the music was enough. 


Years later, we still keep up this practice. Even now, married with a daughter, music remains an important piece of who I am. It’s as if during my childhood my father took the time to weave it into my very being. I’ll never force my daughter to love music like I do, but I want to take time to weave it throughout her days just like my dad did for me.

My wish is for her to understand that there are things in this world that make your heart so full that you feel as if you might burst. Something as simple as a series of sounds can have the power to render you speechless or leave you in a puddle of tears. Despite its flaws, this world can be a magical place and I hope I can show my daughter some of the magic. 

Sure, I’m not blasting music like I did in high school with a toddler in the backseat. My daughter requests that I sing “Wheels on the Bus” at least three times a day, and now that she’s old enough, she does her own rendition of “Baby Shark”. It’s fair to assume that even when I’m alone I am humming the words to “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the Elmo’s World theme song. But that’s not all I am.

If I’ve learned anything from a music loving father, it’s that music transcends our roles. I can be a mom and still love music as much as I did when I was a kid. Now more than ever music lifts me up when I’m down and nothing compares to finding a new song to blast on the rare solo car ride. Music is still a huge part of my life.

Even if my daughter doesn’t grow up to be passionate about music, I hope that I can show her it’s okay to be passionate about something. My husband loves sports, especially baseball. I have friends who are passionate about reading, knitting, gardening and so on.

Now that I’m a mom, I want my daughter to find something that lights her soul on fire. Something that she will come running to me to talk about, her eyes shining because her heart is full. I want her to know what it feels like to love something so much, she can’t stop thinking about it. Honestly, I can’t wait to see what she chooses to love. I know it might sound selfish, but I really hope she chooses music.

What are you passionate about?

Previous articleConfessions of a “Short” Mom
Next articleLockdown Apathy
Kelsey Arender
Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.


  1. Yes indeed it’s not so much what our passion is but that we have a passion. Now that I’m an empty-nester mom I look at our children’s passions and realize that yes, we “gave” them those passions, and they chose what to keep and what not to keep. It’s truly interesting to look back on the experiences of our children to see how that informs who they become.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here