The other day I was driving to go pick up Josh from work and listening to a playlist on my iPhone. The kids were in the back seat chattering away and I was feeling mentally exhausted. The song changed and “A Long December” by Counting Crows came on. Suddenly I was 17-years-old and driving my little, blue Geo Metro. Instead of a backseat full of children, I had a group of my friends with me. We are all laughing and singing along to the song. As the song continued to play, I felt memory after memory of high school wash over me. Friends I hadn’t thought about it years, the emotions of being in a new relationship with Josh, and the carefree ability we had to go where we wanted whenever we wanted. Everything seemed young and fresh and fun.
Again the song changed and this time “Babylon” by David Gray brought me to my first year of marriage. The coziness of our loft apartment in Federal Way surrounded me as I remembered listening to the song while I cleaned on my day off. I could picture our cats sitting on the couches and a fire in our little pink fireplace as the rain came down outside. Our marriage was new and sparkly and it felt more like make believe than reality.
With a third song, “Yellow” by Coldplay, I am engaged and visiting Josh in California. We are driving down the freeway and excited to see each other after a month’s separation; what seemed like an eternity to me at the time. We are in love and excited for what the future holds. We talk about what our wedding will be like and he tells me about how this song, that I’d never heard, always makes him think of me.
Then, I realize something about all of the memories that these songs are calling forth; they’re all softened by time, rose-tinted. The worries, fears and stresses that I was dealing with are minimized in the remembrance of the small joys I experienced. Laughing with friends, cleaning my house and planning a wedding replace the broken relationships of high school, the cancer my Grandma was battling during my engagement and the difficulties of the first year of marriage.
It made me think about how I view my life now and how I’ll view it in a few years. What song will bring me back to this time when my kids are young and I get to spend each day with them? I realize that the joy of hearing them play together, the sweetness of baby arms wrapped around my neck and the excitement of celebrating their small victories will someday minimize the stress of finances, neverending household chores and being frustratingly overwhelmed.
I silently pray, “Dear God, please help me to recognize and appreciate the things of today as I’m living it, instead of tomorrow when I’m remembering it. Help me to have a softened, rose-tinted view of my life and acknowledge the joys that surround me.”