Ruthanne and I lived in New York for 2 years. We often joke that our potential kids won’t believe that we actually existed in that fast-paced, un-Mom-and-Dad-like environment. There’s probably a moment in every kid’s life when they have to look at their parents in a new light.

In that scant 2 years, we found a fantastic church and made some incredible friends. It seemed there were a strange number of late 20s, childless married couples at that church, and we found our place rather quickly. It was like putting on clothes you’ve never worn before that fit eerily perfectly. It was in New York that I found a different kind of intimacy with peers that I haven’t been able to duplicate. I always felt like a bit of a misfit among Massachusetts Christians. Most MA denizens are pretty liberal in their politics, so a lot of Christians feel they need to dig in their heels in response to what’s around them. But for Christians like me who don’t feel there’s a 1-to-1 connection between Christian faith and the Republican Party, Massachusetts can be a sometimes uncomfortable place. What I really liked about New York City was there was so much diversity that Christians of any stripe could have room to breathe. I felt comfortable enough to just be myself.

After we left New York, the friendships remained. Every time we come back into the city, we’re welcomed with open arms and a warm spare bed by a pair of friends. One such couple had us over for a weekend, and it was the first time we stayed with them. Sitting in their living room shortly after we arrived, my wife and Sonja were happily catching up when my eye was drawn to their stereo cabinet. Among the various electronics that were there, I saw a turntable and a one-shelf collection of vinyl. I couldn’t resist taking a look.

Sonja told me that her and Blake’s LP collection was a combined effort; they were too young to have any vinyl of their own, but they each pillaged their parents’ collections and then culled their findings together. What they came up with was downright impressive. Among the most notable were several Johnny Cash records, Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road and The White Album, as well as Led Zeppelin’s entire studio discography.

the first vinyl copies of The White Album had serial numbers on the cover to make each copy unique.

I had never seen an actual vinyl copy of The White Album. Blake and Sonja’s was incredibly faded and well-loved, and it had its original serial number in the bottom right corner, something the CD copies didn’t have. It may seem like a small thing, but it was a kind of mythological experience for me.; there I was, seeing with my own eyes what I had only read about. It’s like an amateur painter going to the Louvre for the first time, or a Poli-Sci student taking a tour of the White House.

I don’t think we really appreciate things about our parents lives when we’re younger; in a larger sense, we don’t appreciate our parents themselves. It’s only when we’re older that we sometimes feel a melancholy fondness for them. We had access to them anytime we wanted, but we didn’t want it until the access was no longer there. The good thing is that engenders a desire to create access whenever possible. Like it or not, we need our parents… and parents like to be needed.