Love Songs from the Minivan

Do you have certain songs that instantly make you want to sing in the car? What about those that make you cringe? Laugh? Dance? I do. Music has a way of getting to my soul. Most every genre, in every season of my life. I simply love music.

Last week I was leaving my house and a Bryan Adams song came on the radio. I used to be a big fan…even making a road trip to Charlotte with a group of my friends and sister Kristin circa 1992, complete with a pit stop to the Waffle House on the way back home via southbound I-85.

His gritty voice, singing about a summer when I wasn’t even born but still enjoyed the lyrics, his encouragement to never surrender {which I found out was really sung by Corey Hart after being disappointed Bryan left that one out at the concert}, and my favorite, ‘Heaven’. I pretty much liked all his music with the exception of ‘Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman’, which I thought had more cheese coming out of it than a squirt can pressed full throttle.

sisters high school cheerleading

Sisters – MHS Fall 1991

However, there was one of his songs featured in a Kevin Costner movie that at a time in my youth reminded me of a high school boyfriend. Did you ever have special songs?

Mixed tapes made, calling in to the radio station requesting the song and sitting there ready to press the play and record buttons at the same time to preserve it on cassette, and wondering how the DJ knew just when to stop talking before the words started. I even learned to play this particular song on the piano when the sheet music came out. So this one that was special eventually turned into a I-don’t-ever-want-to-hear-it-again song once that relationship ended.

I remember being at the Haywood Mall and literally walking out as fast as I could, trying to fight back tears as it was pumped through the department store airwaves. This song would have made the ‘Top 5 Torture Songs to Hear After a Breakup’ on the soundtrack of my teenage life.

As a grown woman with lots of life experience, I realize that may sound juvenile. However, at that time in my life, it was truthfully painful to hear.

So I’m backing out of my driveway, headed to pick up my youngest child at preschool. Lo and behold this song is on. And after about 5 seconds, I started LAUGHING. Instantly. Seriously. Could not stop cracking up.

Did I really used to cry at this? Race to turn the channel? Mindy Long – bless your 16 year old heart!! How cheesy is THIS song?

I wasn’t laughing at the girl who back in the early nineties had a struggle with hearing this song, as those were valid feelings at the time. I own them, and to a brokenhearted teenage girl, those emotions were authentic.

I wasn’t making fun of me by laughing. What I did do was begin to thank God through my laughs that He had a bigger, better plan for me.

That momentary heartache was a life lesson I would learn from and years later be so thankful for on more than one occasion, coming through a stronger and better person. Despite wishing the now-me could have given the then-me some swift advice on navigating the teen years {OH what I would tell her!}, all my life experiences both positive and negative shaped who I am today, and for that I am grateful.

God's protectionAll this said, I pulled over to the group box to check our mail as Mr. Adams was crooning about how I should know it’s true, that everything he does, he does it for me. I’m smiling thinking about all this wisdom I’ve gained since my teens {and admittedly shaking my head at the same time} and what I’d tell my younger self, and all these great things that come with age, and how 39 is starting to feel closer to a well-earned badge on the journey of life.

As I pull out the package in my mailbox, I laugh even louder! How ironic that during all this gratitude-for-age moment is my new bottle of fancy anti-aging serum I ordered… to help SLOW DOWN the aging process. Here I am wanting the wisdom that comes with age, yet longing for the skin of my youth {heck I’d even settle for the skin of my 20’s}.

Remember that graduation speech “Just wear sunscreen”? It’s true. I should have listened to my Mom and one of my dear friend’s Mom, who was a makeup artist and used to get on to me constantly about getting burned in the tanning bed and the South Carolina rays. Hey though – that was fun going to Patsy’s Sun Room with my friends for $2 a pop in Simpsonville, South Cackalacky (those where I’m from know what this means). Good times, not so good skin to show for it.

I was always able to relax in the tanning bed and was bummed when they upgraded to the quick-that-could-tan-you-in-less-than-ten-minutes beds. I enjoyed lying there with my own thoughts for a solid half hour, the radio on 107 WANS and a plug-in oscillating stand fan to help control the heat and humidity…yes, even inside the building. If this new serum works like the YouTube lady and the reviews say, I’ll be grateful!

Fast forward a couple of miles down the road, and the next song that comes on the radio makes me laugh and smile even harder. This is getting comical. A song I used to could not stand. I mean turn the radio as fast as I could. Tears for Fears – ‘Everybody Rules the World’. It just grated my ever loving nerves. Anyone remember Real Genius and the popcorn scene at the end? Yep. THAT one. Please tell me I’m not the only one who checked their dorm room closet for a secret elevator shaft when arriving at college?! True story.

Why is this funny? My husband REALLY likes that song. Like crank it up, sing it loud, loves that song. Don’t ask me why. I discovered this when we were dating. It was one of those things I chose to overlook, like he chose to overlook my pet anxiety CD’s for my little dog and the birthday cake I flew in from a Southern pet bakery for her {he even had it delivered to his business so it could be refrigerated until I was off of work – the ridicule he suffered for me and my Pawley!}.

dog pets beach

Ocean Isle Beach – Pawley and me – May 2000

He likes to pump up the volume when this song comes on, knowing how I can’t stand it. After all these years, it’s like an inside joke between us. And now I laugh.

I hear it and see his smile in my mind – so I crank it up and sing in an exaggerated way, thinking of his cute smirky grin and the looks we exchange whenever we randomly hear it. Come to think of it, me casting a scowl look about that song all these years probably aided in the advancement of my fine lines my new fancy serum promises to correct.

By this time I’m nearing my destination, and have realized the quick trip down memory lane has been provided by the local easy listening station, and I’m driving a minivan. Sobering thought. Who comes on next but Michael Jackson. I turn in to preschool with MJ softly asking me ‘Why? Why?’.

Why these particular songs in this order on this day? A song that at one time was special, then was sad to hear and now seems just plain silly, followed by a song I used to dislike and now I’ll listen to purely because my husband likes it and what he enjoys makes me smile. This all balanced in the middle with a healthy dose of age fighting when I am actually in the process of age embracing.

So I decided to talk back to the gloved one, giggled and said “I don’t know Michael, I’m asking why, too!” I guess it really is all just ‘Human Nature’. Ha! Can I get a witness for a song I actually want to hear?

Now, as much as I love music, I’m sure it’s no surprise I’m a sucker for ringtones. Of course he has one! Initially I was disappointed I couldn’t find our wedding dance song to use {disclaimer: Verizon, will you please consider a version of ‘By Your Side‘ with an option to start at the chorus?}.

Then, I found the perfect one.

My eyes light up at the lyrics. My heart skips a beat. Every time I hear this new-ish song, and usually this happens to be when we’re together, I squeal and say “This song reminds me of you! Turn it up!”.

Wedding Dance First Dance

First dance as Mr. and Mrs. – ‘By Your Side’ – April 6, 2002

And just at the moment I am pulling up the hill to pick up my son, one final song is played. The music isn’t coming from the radio, but from my phone. It’s him. And all of a sudden Ed Sheeran starts singing that sweet melody…and all I see is my husband’s face. I love it when he calls, usually once a day, just to say hi and see how my day is going. No other reason but to show he cares, and that’s one of those precious little things that’s actually a big thing to me.

And that, my friends, is saving the best for last.

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