Do you remember those mixed tapes or cds you used to make for your friends and boyfriend in high school?
You know the ones.......with "Summertime 99!" scribbled across the front in Sharpie?
I've got one on my iPhone.
It's simply entitled........Craig.........and consists solely of songs that make me feel the warm fuzzies for my hubby.
Beyond cheesy, right?
In all actuality........we're in a really good spot right now. Life is good. We are managing the work-marriage-family balance and seem to be riding the tide instead of treading and gasping for air.
Not that we were ever in any real danger, but you know how LIFE can be sometimes.
The past few months we've certainly had some storms thrown our way. Between the house flooding, volleyball season, the pink eye epidemic, and finally Craig's multiple illnesses and subsequent surgery to remove his gall bladder, it's been the perfect storm for what could have really been a tough time for our marriage......but we're good.
We are solid.
Granted, we are only two and a half years into this whole husband-wife gig but I think we've got a good outlook on who we are and in what our family believes. We approach everything as a team. There are no "his" or "her" jobs, there are only tasks to be done and two capable adults available to complete them (and one eager toddler as well). I can rake and bag leaves on a Saturday morning while Craig trims the hedges. Craig can switch laundry loads as I fold and put the clothes away.
We work together and honor each other's strengths and talents.
I think that's what has kept our heads and hearts in the right place this fall. Neither of us keep score in our marriage or tally up the "who has done more for whom" points - that's not how life works. Most of the time we're doing things 50/50 but there are times, weeks or even months where one of us can only handle 20% and the other has to pick up the 80%.
During my bout with PPD I was hovering at 20% (or less) capability for practically nine months. I wasn't a good partner. I wasn't a good teammate. But Craig never batted an eye nor did he hold it against me. It wasn't what he had expected to happen after the birth of our first child, but he saw through the disease and still somehow recognized his wife and the woman he loved. He was willing to shoulder the brunt of the work around the house so that I could get on with the greater task of rebuilding myself.
And then there is the weeks and days surrounding September 19th and the anniversary of the death of Craig's father. Physically Craig is present with our family and going through the motions of our daily life, but emotionally he is distant and aloof. There's always something darker lurking behind his otherwise bright blue eyes - a hidden sadness with a tint of anger. I put aside my own mindless frustrations and complaints and I listen to what he has to say.....and sometimes more importantly, what he doesn't say.
It's a give and take.
So with having said all that, here's what I've compiled onto my cheesy mix playlist that reminds me of my husband.
This Year's Love by David Gray: The final song played at our wedding. Just the two of us slow dancing in a quiet room as our guests filed out and waited to blow bubbles on us as we boarded the golf cart. It's peaceful and soothing. Quiet and solid.
Home by Edward and the Magnetic Zeros: A folksy song perfect for a road trip down 35 or better yet, an isolated backroad at sunset with the windows rolled down. My favorite lyric includes this little gem "let me come home; home is where ever I'm with you." Why yes, yes it most definitely is.
Make You Feel My Love by Adele (or Garth Brooks): Just reminds me that I'm not alone. Even on the darkest of days after Natalie was born, he was right there in my corner - never fighting my battles but always believing that I would come out victorious.
Breathe Me by Sia: There was a certain cold January night many years ago when I made a trek out to Lewisville at 11:00 in the evening to help put my dear friend back on track. We weren't engaged or even dating but I knew in my heart that he was the one. I saw both of us as such ridiculously flawed human beings, each struggling with demons but perhaps if we could each see ourselves as the other saw us, then maybe we could slay the dragons together.
You Are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne: The last "official" song at our wedding. Because he is. And I am too.
Ho Hey by the Lumineers: "I belong with you, you belong with me." Yes. I agree. Another folk style song that we sing along with in the car.
Beautiful Day by U2: By far our favorite band and this will not be the last time you see them listed in this playlist. This particular song was our recessional from the wedding and ohmygoodness it WAS a beautiful day. The weather was perfect, my dress looked fantastic and we were surrounded by all the people we love.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: Another wedding song (picture my bridesmaids walking the aisle) but it was a favorite of mine since introduced to it by one of my college professors. It's peaceful, wistful but yet deliberate at the same time. Plus it has the line about "dreams really do come true" which is fitting for both Craig and me.....having the life and family that we have was something that neither of us ever pictured for our futures. Until we met each other, of course.
If I Ever Leave This World Alive by Flogging Molly: Have you seen PS I Love You? I cried the ugly cry the first time I saw that movie. Long story short - a young woman is widowed by her adorable Irish husband but he leaves her all these letters that help her through the grieving process. When I originally saw the movie I cried because I had no one in my life that loved me enough to do anything sweet like that for me. It might seem a little strange to include a song from a movie where the main plot line includes a husband dying but there's a line in the song that goes like this: "I'm alright, I'm okay. Though you have gone from my life. You said that it would, now everything should be alright." In my practically constant state of worry about anything and everything, Craig always tells me - it's going to be alright. And it's always true. It is always alright. And in the terrible event that I am left here on this Earth alone and without him......his words will still ring true - I will be alright because I loved him and he loved me.
Blackbird by Sarah McLachlan: Originally a Beatles song but covered acoustically by Sarah McLachlan and played at our wedding as I walked down the aisle. As I've written about numerous times on this blog, I was quite the hot mess before I met and married Craig. So I guess that's why the lyrics "take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise" spoke to me. I truly believed that I was such a terrible and broken human being that I was undeserving of any kind of love. Craig showed me otherwise.
Home by Phillip Phillips: Yeah, it's getting to be a little bit over played on the radio (which is why I mostly listen to my iPod or Pandora) but I like the guitar, the folksy-ness and the message. It's easy to sing along with in the car, or in Craig's case, to play the drums on the steering wheel along with the beat.
All I Want Is You by U2: Our first dance. The lyrics are framed in our bedroom. But it's true....forget all the jewels, the riches or the privilege in the world - I just want him.
I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz: I think this song actually came out about a year ago but I've just now found it through Pandora. My favorite part is the title - a healthy marriage doesn't just happen; it takes work and dedication. Things will get hard and ugly in life and I know that at times Craig and I will have to put in extra effort just to make it through the day, the month or the year.
I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons: Both of us have really fallen in love with Mumford and Sons because there is soul in their music and lyrics. I think what gets me about this song, especially the "I will wait" part is that Craig did. He saw me evaporate before his eyes and he waited patiently (most of the time) for me to return to him. Plus.....all of Mumford and Sons music reminds us of what will be our next European adventure - England, Scotland and Ireland.
Faithfully by Journey: Just because it is a gloriously cheesy 80s ballad. And good to sing out loud in the car.
I did not plan on this being such an enormously long and involved post. My apologies!
What kinds of songs would you put on a cheesy mix tape (or playlist) for your significant other?