Creative Differences

Teghan Piano


My husband and I are creative opposites. We do not share the same abilities. In fact, we are quite terrible at the things the other one is good at. Sometimes this works out well. For example, Dave is very gifted at putting music together. It’s a language that makes sense to him in a way few people really understand, even most musicians. It’s why I fell for him in the first place. And while I may have musical ability, I do not possess the same talent for composition.

He is in his studio recording songs right now- songs without words or vocal lines. He isn’t as good at that part. I find words, melody, and harmony easy. I am a singer…. while Dave somehow manages to sing terribly in perfect pitch (that may even be its own talent).

These differences allow us to be a great pair for songwriting. However, these differences also mean that songwriting has led to our most legendary battles. Nothing (and I mean nothing) has made us angrier with each other than a disagreement over music. There is a reason some of our best work is still lost in studio archives.

Knowing this, I am not sure why I had the brilliant idea of working with him on a comic book. I don’t even like comic books. Something about having to look at pictures and read at the same time annoys me. It gives me motion sickness or something. And, if you recall, I cannot draw- anything. My stick figures are bad. Dave (of course) is a great artist. He has plenty of experience, too. He just can’t write.

Seems like a perfect fit, doesn’t it? I am hopeful, but skeptical. The closest we ever came to breaking up was over time signatures, after all. 

But Dave has some good stories, and I think this is the right platform. The fact that during his teen years he emerged into a world of rock n roll while living in an extremely conservative Christian home practically writes itself. Add epilepsy and crime, and you have all the material you will ever need.

There is a fantastic story from his teenage years; one that involves a Crime Stoppers re-enactment, getting arrested in front of a group of missionaries, and a sentence of painting pictures and building a nativity scene. I am not going to get into all of that here. In fact, Dave’s parents have STILL managed to keep this whole fiasco a secret from his siblings.

You (and they) will have to wait for the comic book- assuming our marriage survives our creative differences.

What I do want to talk about is how our creative differences define us as parents. How it changes our goals and expectations where Teghan is concerned. But mostly- how it may benefit her. It is not surprising that our biggest dreams for Teghan revolve around finding her own creative passions in life. I have talked about this before.

Embarrassing band photo circa 2000. Was I really wearing those shoes in the snow?

Embarrassing band photo circa 2000. Was I really wearing those shoes in the snow? (Dave on right)

Parents seldom get to orchestrate their child’s future to their exact specifications, but part of the joy of parenthood is that we never have to quit trying. It’s one of the main reasons teenagers hate their parents, right? Teghan has some extreme challenges, but creativity is not out of the realm of possibility. And really, that makes us pretty lucky.

Because honestly? I love that she knows what a drum or piano is, and that she will even say the words- but do you know what’s better? When she decides to pick up those drum sticks or tap on those piano keys.

I am never prouder than when she grabs a pen and tries to draw a circle on command- except maybe when she steals the paper and paint brushes and makes a mess.

And I think it’s fantastic when she repeats her letters back to me…. but it ain’t nothing compared to when she hums just the faintest melody of the alphabet song.

I don’t know if she will ever talk or be able to have a conversation, and that is something we are constantly working toward. But I always think that between the two of us, she must have inherited some kind of inclination toward creativity. And I also suspect that if she is wired for it, it could very well be a language she can more easily understand. It may even be the voice she is looking for.

And… I think that maybe I want that for her, more than anything else. (Which isn’t completely selfish, right?)


2 thoughts on “Creative Differences

  1. One of the joys that you will have is seeing the combination of the two of you in her. When the difference is wide (in a particular area), it’s great to see your child flip-flop back and forth, and build on that.

    Thanks for a wonderful blog.

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