I’m sippin’ on a latte, cruising down Falls River Avenue and listening to XM 7 this morning when Michael Johnson happens to come on. Are the tears springing to your eyes? You remember Michael Johnson, don’t you? (Okay, Rachel and Monica get a pass at this because they were born in the 80s – or close enough -) Sing along with me now “Because I’m bluer than blue. Sadder than sad. You’re the only life this empty room has ever had. Life without you is gonna’ be….bluer than blue.”
Oh, how I love me some heartbreak. I cranked the volume to 10, grabbed the pretend microphone and told the little men to listen up. They rolled their eyes. They don’t understand why I keep telling them to listen to stuff they never hear Hannah whats-her-face sing. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to let my kids get through life without knowing all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody or Copacabana. Yeah, we never learned to brush our hair before getting out the door, but we can air guitar all the solos off Def Leppard’s Pyromania…
I teach the boys the finer points of music education because I love them. Which got me to thinking about the other things I do (or did) for love….
In the third grade I emptied out my snack box for my boyfriend. He was hungry and his dorm mother only let him pick one thing out of his snack box, so I marched into the kitchen and grabbed everything my two little hands could hold out of my box. Without thinking of the consequences, I gave it to him. The consequences were that it was another three weeks until I saw my parents again and got my snack box refilled. Those were three very long weeks.
In the 7th grade I changed my favorite color from green to brown. I don’t like brown. But I heard through the grapevine that Tom Brady did (okay, his name wasn’t Tom Brady, but I said I wasn’t going to name names, and I can’t tell this story without having a name there, and Tom Brady used to be high on my list until the whole pregnant ex/dating the supermodel thing. But I digress…). Anyhow, I somehow convinced my mom to buy a bunch of brown clothes which I hated and did absolutely nothing for my pasty complexion and even less for attracting Tom’s attention. Then I found out that Tom really liked it when that redheaded girl (let’s just call her Giselle, shall we?) wore brown. And I couldn’t convince my mother to let me color my hair. Sigh.
While in college, I drove 7 hours (each way!) to type (and actually, kind of write) my brother’s term paper. This was in the day before computers. I sat in the library and pounded out 10 pages of who knows what on an old IBM Selectric while he looked over my shoulder providing pertinent information. I think we finished at 4 a.m. the day it was due. This scenario was repeated more than once. I’m thinking of requesting his diploma be amended to include my name.
After graduate school I signed a contract on a lease and a contract for a job offer and moved halfway across the country to be with the one I loved. Except turns out he was loving someone else and neglected to tell me until two weeks before my move date. I couldn’t get out of the lease without boatloads of money that I didn’t have, so I moved anyway. Two weeks after I arrived in town, I met my husband to be. I was bluer than blue and sadder than sad that day he walked into the room, and he changed my tune in about sixty seconds flat.
Neil Sedaka followed Michael Johnson this morning on the radio. Strolling along country roads with my baby…. I left the volume up. As the boys were piling out of the car, Tommy reached over to kiss me goodbye. “See ya’ Mom. I liked your songs this morning. They made my eyes water.”