The first song is “Moanin’,” which was first recorded by Art Blakey. Charles Mingus did a great version. One of my favorite singers, José James, does a great version with scat singing. A remix by Aoba includes nearly continuous vocals–but they’re all about the other kind of “moaning–and my father would not have appreciated them. (He wasn’t big on hip-hop.) He would, and I think did, like the Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross recording, Not sure if I remember him playing it when I was a baby or not.

My father was hard-driving and stoic. He had many, daily reasons for “Moanin’” but never did–not where I could hear, anyway. A little moanin’ might have done him good, but his daughters were masterful at it. Besides, he knew what was best for him, and was quite sure he knew what was best for his family. And what was best was often not what we wanted, in the moment. He took the long view. I should have listened to him much more than I did!

The next song is for my husband, “One for Daddy-O,” by Cannonball Adderley. Manny rarely goes to bed without listening to Cannonball for half an hour while reading the kind of book that immediately makes you sleepy. If nothing else, I  was lucky in choosing a great father for my children. (Not incidentally, he’s a great husband to his often childish wife, who demands a great deal more patience and uplifting than either of our kids ever have.) He compensates for my perpetual, if unintentional, failings as a person.

Whether you’re a biological father or not, everyone should father someone! So many children grow up never knowing a father’s love, be it good or not. What doesn’t seem  “good” in the moment is often what defines us. Fatherhood doesn’t need to be official or constant. But show a child some fatherly love, no matter who you are.