In 1980 something, (I can’t tell you exactly when - protecting privacy you know) my then boyfriend made me a mix tape.
At least for me it was, I'm talking ro-man-tic; THE ultimate mix of tunes – classic, fun, sad, and holy cats did it have a lot of songs! I’d had guys make me mix tapes before, but nothing could compare to the masterpiece of THIS particular mix tape. To this day I swoon when I think about the first time I listened to it.
The case had my name on it, nothing more. I was used to a barely legible list of songs scribbled out by the mix tape maker. The absence of the list only added to my excitement. I popped the tape into the cassette player, my heart thump-thump-thumping! The music started and I didn’t recognize the melody. I had never heard the song that was playing.
I had to listen carefully. The song? “Here Comes My Girl,” by Tom Petty.
By the time Tom started singing the lyrics, "And she looks me in the eye, says we gonna last forever, man I can’t begin to doubt it. No because this feels so good, so free and so right, I know we ain’t never gonna change our minds about it…" I was practically catatonic. My boyfriend and I had a song!
SWOON TO THE MAX (it was the 80's and we talked like that)!
Well, we didn’t last forever, but I have never forgotten how listening to that song made me feel. At the time, the words were just perfect. Having an “our song” with someone is very special. You don’t have an “our song” with just anyone AND an “our song” has to have lyrics uniquely suited to the people who claim it as theirs.
At least that's what I used to think.
A few weeks ago, I was driving along, hyper-focused on the road and trying not to cuss at the drivers swerving in and out of lanes when my daughter asked me to turn up the radio.
“MOM, our song is on!”
Are you kidding me kid? Because A) I didn’t know we had a song and B) Turning up the radio was pretty much the worst thing for my driving nerves at that particular time, but hell I was just so thrilled and curious! Our song? WE have a song? MY DAUGHTER SAYS WE HAVE A SONG! A SONG, A SONG, A SOOOOONG!
Have you heard the song “Some Nights,” by the band Fun.? Give it a listen later. It's catchy! But it's sort of sad. NOT fun, Fun.!
In the past, I had obliged my daughter’s request to turn up the radio when this song came on, countless times, but I’d never really listened to the words. When I’m driving, especially when I’m driving with a kid in the car, it’s all I can do not to lose my mind. Driving makes me tense and my ADHD makes it hard for me to focus. GAH!
But back to the song! I listened carefully and couldn’t think of one thing in that song that would make my daughter think it was “our song.” I encourage you to read the lyrics. I am sure they carry some deep meaning, somewhere hidden between the oh-oh’s and the overall get yourself some dang Prozac and a good therapist vibe, but if it was there, I couldn't decipher it. But maybe she heard something I didn't, maybe she didn't care. There are a zillion songs that don’t make a lick of sense, but if this was our song, I wanted to know why? I was curious and needed explanation as to why she thought of this song is “our song."
Cause this one really did NOT make sense to me. So I asked her and her answer amazed me. Now, thanks to my beautiful daughter, the expression, “our song” has a whole new meaning for me. I've decided to choose and share a lot of "our songs" with people I love.
“Mom, don’t you remember? This is the song from ‘Wreck it, Ralph.’ We saw it together and I sat on your lap. And this song always comes on when we are in the car so I think about how I want to snuggle on your lap, but I can’t because you are driving.”
Yes, my daughter and I have a song. And as usual, I found myself over thinking things as I listened carefully to the sad song. I worried that the lyrics that described a life full of despair, feelings of abandonment, ghosts, fear of dying alone, feeling directionless and forgotten, reminded her of our relationship. But that was the furthest thing from the truth. Her truth. When she hears the music of “Some Nights,” she sees her own version of lyrics. She hears a memory! And it's a good one.
As a parent, there are some nights when I do wonder just who I am and what I stand for. Some nights the ghosts from my past affect me in negative ways, making me a martyr in my own bed. I do sometimes fear I will be forgotten and I'll metaphorically dry up dead in the desert sun - alone. Some nights I end up cashing in my bad luck, but some nights I call it a draw.
But that night, when I found out that my daughter had such a positive connection to the song, I couldn’t help singing along with her, just happy to be in that moment, “Some nights I always win, I always win!” Yep, that night was a big win.
And P.S. Buy my book. Please. Buy it. It comes out in April. My mom says it's really good.