When I was in second grade and made my First Holy Communion, my parents gave me a silver charm bracelet and a record album. I don’t remember who the artist was, but the title song was called “Happy the Man.” I still know some of the words. When I think of that song, I don’t just hear the music.
I feel that time. Living in the house I grew up in, with my mom, dad, and two sisters. My pink bedroom with flowered wallpaper and a canopy bed. My childhood.
In high school I was a cheerleader. During the summer before my junior year, the team and I practiced our routines every morning on the football field. We had a boom box and danced to “We Got the Beat” by the Go-Go’s—over and over and over again. We were 16 years old, excited about prospective boyfriends, new clothes, hair styles, and parties.
I feel that time. Being with my friends. Friday nights at the football stadium. My classes and teachers. Carefree, yet also insecure and desperately wanting to fit in.
One of my best friends got married and I was one of her bridesmaids. My future husband and I were dating. At the reception we slow danced to the song “Lady in Red” by Chris de Burgh. I wore a pink lace dress and wished I was in a slinky red one. The DJ must’ve noticed how in love we looked. He said to us, “I bet you’ll get married next.” I beamed. We weren’t engaged yet, but knew we were meant to be together forever.
I feel that time. On cloud nine. Excited about the future. Imagining myself as a bride.
Soon our first daughter was born. Two years later, our second little girl came into the world. I loved to sit on the glider in their bedrooms and snuggle with them. The smell of fresh baby skin, velvety soft. The tickle of their wispy hair on my neck. At night I’d turn on a lullaby CD. Sweet songs like “All the Pretty Little Horses” made me tear up.
I feel that time. Middle of the night feedings. Quiet and peaceful. Exhausted. Overwhelmed with love.
The years flew by, and Mackenzie and Talee were in high school. They introduced me to all sorts of fun music. Taylor Swift songs, like “Love Story” and “Our Song” remind me of driving them to school in the minivan, our dog in the back seat.
I feel that time. A flurry of activity in our home. Friends. Homework. Curfews and social media boundaries. Football games. The girl’s basketball team. Open houses. College seminars. Graduation.
Music is always with me. It moves me. I not only hear the beat and listen to the words, but I feel the songs. They take me back to a previous time in my life.
Like when my husband and I went to a U2 concert to celebrate his 50th birthday. The Black Eyed Peas were the opening act. I’ll never forget how we danced under the stars and sang to “I Gotta Feeling” (woo hoo… that tonight’s gonna be a good night!)
Music is also there in sad times. Like when my mother-in-law passed away. The funeral reception was at our home. We had dozens of balloons that we handed out to each guest. We played “Harbor Lights” through the backyard speakers. That was her favorite tune to play on the piano. We said a tribute and released the balloons. We watched them float to the heavens until we could no longer see them.
Each song filled with its own special memory.
It isn’t just the songs that are special, it’s the people I remember when I hear the songs play.
First image courtesy of here