Anyone who reads my blog knows I love music.. country to be specific.
My 9 year old often tells me “Mom. Every song is your favorite” as I proclaim “THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG” and crank the volume driving around in my bright blue minivan packed full of kids.
I even lament to my husband often. “Why don’t YOU ever write songs about me!??!?” And, in his calm way, as steady and logical as I am neurotic and emotional, he simply says, “Because Brittany, I don’t write songs”. Which is fair. I guess.
A few days ago, I downloaded the new Johnny Reid single, ‘Picture of You’ and instantly fell in love. I added it to my playlist which, much to everyone’s dismay, I listened to whenever I drove them around. Which by the way.. is always. (Whatever… if I’m gonna be the official taxi driver to hockey, football, riding lessons, so on and so on I get to pick the music). They would request some songs, ignore most, and occasionally there were a few Ben would slink down in his chair and try to hide from passers by as I cranked, and opened the windows to rock out to. Come on. Tupac in the summer is perfection. But, I had never really figured out if the kids were LISTENING to the music or it was just a melody as they pondered greater things,.. like Clash of Clans, Minecraft or whether I was the most embarrassing mom in the whole wide world car-dancing to Spice Girls, or excitedly lip-syncing Beyonce to a MORTIFIED 9 year old in the front seat.
So it was a little surprising when we were driving and the new song came on and my son said, “Mom. This song. It kinda reminds me of you and Daddy. But like, before you were married, did you ever have a crush on anyone other than him?”
I smiled and told him that I had. But when I saw him I thought he was the cutest boy I had ever seen.
Like all kids, ours love to hear the stories about how we met, what we thought about each other and who liked who more. It’s always a competition in this house after all.
But as he gets older he seems to need more details, which after 17 years, are getting a little foggy. This time he needed to know EXACTLY the interaction when we first saw each other.
“Like, did he just walk up to you? How did you talk to him?”
I thought for a second and noticed he was trying to smother a smile, he was playing it cool but he needed some answers. Real concrete answers. Like how did these two uncool weirdos meet each other and decide to have kids and live together. I mean, currently he's not sure he wanted to ever get married and live with anyone other than his little brother. Maybe. If his house was big enough.
I told him I remembered the exact moment I saw him for the first time. He was standing with a group of friends in the hallway at school. He was laughing at something and I remembered thinking that he had the most perfect smile I had ever seen. Like in the cheesiest of cheesy movies, time slowed down (and I probably tripped), and forever in my mind, when I think about the beginning of us, that’s the picture.
Now time for a fun fact: I can’t remember what I wore today. I have no recollection of seeing someone for the first time and remembering it like this. It’s weird and cheesy. I embrace that fact. But, that image is locked down so hard in my mind that I will likely wander the halls of my (expensive and luxurious) nursing home someday looking for the boy with the beautiful smile. Then I'll find him, think I hit the jackpot, and our kids will get a call about their elderly parents being inappropriate.. again.
My son bit a smiled back and pushed on.
“SO… did he just walk up to you or what?”.
I explained how he had come to the football game and was watching me cheerlead and I almost couldn’t remember the words because I was so nervous, and then afterwards we met up with friends and I decided he was perfect. Mostly because he played hockey, had a car and was hot. Ben squealed at the ‘hot’ part and giggled while he looked out the window.
But, the summer sun betrayed his secret and in the reflection I could see the smile he had worked so hard to keep to himself. And in that smile I saw one that looked so familiar it caught me by surprise.
I could hardly stop the mist from filling up my eyes as the song came on in the background and Ben, satisfied with the answers to questions, smiling like his dad, nonchalantly started singing along ,
“Time goes by so fast,
when it’s gone it don’t come back.
If I could leave this world with just one memory,
it would be a picture of you looking back at me”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.