you are the soundtrack...

I have always loved music and craved it; almost every genre, every melody can inspire strong emotions, and stir deep memories. I can usually not only correctly tell you the year a song came out based on life events it coincided with, but I can likely tell you the songs that played during important memories. Sometimes though, you realize you remember things you didn't expect to remember, the so-called 'not important' memories.

Today, I hit shuffle on my playlist (which currently holds over 5,000 songs - I'm not even aware of all I truly have), and Elton John's voice crooned the lyrics to "Sacrifice." Immediately, the trip to Virginia Beach with my mom and dad in 1991 popped into my head; more specifically, the visit to the eye doctor's office after an ocean wave came crashing down and knocked the glasses right off my mother's face, leaving her unable to see. It wasn't her fault, really - our vacation took place right before Hurricane Bob hit, and the ocean waves were really rough. That day, in the eye doctor's office, "Sacrifice" was playing; I remember she borrowed my glasses to be able to fill out her paperwork (I unfortunately followed right in her blind footsteps - my prescription was just as strong). It was a hassle and an inconvenience to make such a visit during a vacation, and my mother was obviously less than thrilled to have to do so. But, you know what? That's not what I remember. I heard the song, and in the same moment I was flooded with the memory, with how the office looked and smelled that day, all I remember is that I was happy and content. I felt warmth at the memory. I was with my mom and dad, and it's a childhood memory that we can look back on and laugh at.

Yes, Mom, I am writing about you  - sorry (I know you love that story)!
This memory is one of many others fall into the same category. From my 4th birthday party, when you celebrated and fed my obsession with Michael Jackson (Beat It, Thriller, Billie Jean... I couldn't get enough), to patiently listening to me rap all of Ice, Ice Baby to you and Daddy in the living room (you might not remember, but I do. I was SO proud of myself for memorizing it and delivering it like the g I knew/thought I was), to you letting me listen to Guns 'N Roses Use Your Illusion I & II, despite my age and the language (you knew you didn't need to censor my music). Whenever I hear Billy Joel, I think about piling into the Crown Victoria and how we'd go shopping during the weekend; 9 out of 10 times, you'd cave and buy me something (especially during my Lisa Frank obsession). When I was 13, you bought me my first CD player, as they were just becoming really popular. The first CD's you bought me were Boyz II Men and Pantera (I've obviously always had a very broad range of taste in music). On our trip to Hawaii, I could not get enough of Big Mountain's "Baby, I Love Your Way" as I stared out past the palm trees into the ocean (I swear I loved that vacation despite acting like a homesick, lovesick teenage brat - I'm sorry!). Our connecting flight from LA (exciting because it was right after OJ happened - every white Bronco was surely his) was when I listened to All 4 One's "I Swear" and TLC's "Waterfalls" on repeat in the hotel room - via my Sony Walkman, on cassette tape, recorded from the radio. On our yearly trips to Wildwood, we always listened to the cassette tape collections you had somehow bought or won from the Shell station once the radio cut out (which were actually really good). The Allman Brothers "Rambling Man" was always the sign that we were on our way - it was an unspoken ritual. Once Jessica was born, you babysat while Lisa went to work; when I got home from school, we used to put her in her seat on the kitchen table, and sing and dance to her - she loved "Gloria" and "Hands Up." She would laugh and giggle at us, and it was the best thing ever.  "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys is now a song that Jess and I relate to, but originally it came out in '99, right when I was graduating high school, and I brought home that guy Tom from work. I was 18, he was 22, and he would drive me around in his new Honda Civic while I made him listen to it repeatedly. You really liked him (mostly because he was Polish I think), and back then, so did I (he had dragons on his shirt, Mom. We both should have known better). There are many, many more...

Music is not the only thing that makes me remember; I have tons of memories just like those, and they are filled of you, and of love and just being happy. I just wanted to say thank you; as I get older, I realize those kinds of memories are the ones to cherish and hold onto tightly. This is my tenth year celebrating Mother's Day, and I can only hope Richie one day looks back on all the 'silly, non important' memories that were just every day occurrences, and that he remembers feeling just as loved and happy. You're a wonderful mother and grandmother, and we are so lucky to have you.

Happy Mother's Day <3


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