K and I spend a lot of time in the car together. There’s to and from school, to and from CCD, to and from Hip Hop, etc. A lot of time in the car. Sometimes I hear stories from her day; sometimes I tell stories from mine. Sometimes we’re both silent, but always the radio plays in the background.
When K is in my car, she controls the stations. We listen to Radio Disney and Kiss among others. Listening to K’s music not only helps me in wielding my veto power over an iPod download, it’s provided an interest for us to share. We’re not Justin Bieber fans. We think Taylor Swift needs more variety in her melodies. And we agree that Rihanna has an incredible voice but we don’t typically appreciate her lyric choices.
But when K leaves the car, the radio is all mine. Some days I catch the awesome Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air. Or maybe someone is telling a story on PRX’s The Moth Radio Hour. Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to hear an essay from This I Believe.
When all else fails, I head to one of five country radio stations I have pre-programmed. Yes, that’s right. I listen to country radio. Three stations on XM and two on FM. Sure, some country is kind of twangy and some is kind of hokey. But I love country because it tells a story. Miranda Lambert’s “House that Built Me” was the ballad I listened to over and over again when we sold my Mom and Dad’s house.
“I know they say you can’t go home again.
I just had to come back one more time.
Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam
But these handprints on the front steps are mine.”
And yes, it made me cry but that was kind of the point. It fit the occasion and suited the mood as country songs so often do.
In just a few days, K will be thirteen, an occasion that has me bewildered, happy, sentimental and too many other emotions to list. Her birthday always makes me especially grateful to be her Mom and grateful for the path that led us to each other. I was thinking of that path when the song “This” by Darius Rucker, now a country singer and no longer of Hootie and the Blowfish, came on the air.
“… Maybe it didn’t turn out like I planned
Maybe that’s why I’m such, such a lucky man
All the fights and the tears and the heartache
I thought I’d never get through
And the moment I almost gave up
All led me here to you.”
His words remind me of how much I wanted to be pregnant 14 years ago, of how I couldn’t understand how life could be so unfair. Why couldn’t I have what came so easily to everyone else? “And the moment I almost gave up all led me here to you.” I wanted to be a mother and what I became was K’s mother and that has made all the difference. Maybe that’s why I’m such, such a lucky woman.