I am a firm believer in music. It transcends time, cultures and all human indifferences. When I hear a song, I can tell you roughly what year it is from and what was significant that year for me. Do I know all the words? Of course not but that doesn’t stop me from singing at the top of my lungs, lol! I played the violin growing up. So my first love is classical music. As you will see in the songs below, I listen to everything, I mean everything. I just love music. I am feeling a bit nostalgic tonight and wanted to share some of the songs of my life from about age 16 on. It’s been a long road with more bumps than one person deserves to have. But it is my life. Every struggle, every tear, every ounce of pain coupled with all the laughter, joy and love has made me who I am. You have to take the good with the bad. I’m not saying it’s ever going to be easy. Life throws some really crappy curve balls at you…it’s your choice to swing at it or go down looking.
I have always chosen to swing.
At This Moment – Billy Vera
Not too many folks know this but I was a foster kid. The story is far too long to get into and so long ago that it is not that significant to me anymore. Bottom line, my mother struggled to care for us. She found a way out and took it. It took years for me to accept this. Yep, if you really want to free yourself, you have to truly forgive; even if that person never even apologized. My father was splitsville years before children services. He took off when I was 9 and I wouldn’t see him again until I was 41-years-old. That’s a story for another day. I am a firm believer that there are lessons to be learned with every experience. My lesson during my teen years was what kind of mother I swore I would not become. This song’s meaning I’m sure is about lost love. However for me, I can remember laying in bed and playing this over and over on a cassette tape. This song to me was about lost parents. I just wanted my mom and dad to know that despite how awful they were that I would still love them if they would just come back. I know that seems terribly sad and trust me, those teen years were. Again, I am thankful for how it all turned out. My senior year in high school, I was in the Emancipation Program. I was placed in my own apartment and given financial assistance by the county children services. Every month, the county would provide less and less assistance until I was completely independent. I worked 30 hours a week while finishing my senior year in high school. Yep, my high school years were a wild ride. I still graduated in the top 25% of my class. I was also a cheerleader and ha, was even prom queen. I earned an academic scholarship to ODC. I would be stupid though and would turn it down to follow some guy off to college. Had I not been a foster kid, would I have gone off to college? I was considered “independent” since I was a foster kid and received every piece of financial aid available which made college possible. So no, my parents weren’t around, it is what it is. There still was some good that came out of my yucky childhood, I knew who I wouldn’t become and I turned out to be very self-driven and self-sufficient…
Release Me – Wilson Phillips
Because I bounced between homes, I was dependent on one person; this guy I dated for a long time. We were really awful for each other. Really awful. He was a crappy boyfriend and I was a crappy girlfriend but it was the only stable thing in my life. I could have never walked away from it had he not made it so unbearable to be with him. He wasn’t going to break up either so he just drove me to it. This is one of those unanswered prayers that I’m thankful for. I thought I was going to marry him and he is nowhere near the man I did end up marrying. He showed me everything I didn’t want in a man; there were still life lessons learned even in this breakup…
Enter Sandman – Metallica
My favorite band of all time? Metallica. Yep, bang your head on that one, lol! That breakup was pure hell. I was lost with a lot of pent-up emotions. We dated from our sophomore year in high school almost through my freshman year in college. That next fall, I played Metallica’s Black album on the loudest setting my car stereo could handle every time I was in my car. What was I driving? An MR2. I was working damn near full-time while going to school full-time. I had an apartment with a couple of friends and my pride and joy was my Toyota MR2 I bought used (only 3 years old). I drove that car hard. It was a standard and I bought it without even knowing how to drive a stick. I learned how pretty quick though, lol! I needed to feel good about myself and this car helped lots. Yep, and I got a lot of that anger out blasting Black…and I only dropped the clutch once, lol!
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett
Both the Violent Femmes and Jimmy got me over him. It also brings back ripping great memories of my college years. I left Ohio Wesleyan after my first year of college (since I only went there to follow that guy who begged me to go there because that’s where he was recruited to play basketball) and transferred to Ohio Dominican College (yep, it was a college before it was a university and there wasn’t a football team at ODC either back then, lol). It was one long party starting every Thursday all the way through Sunday. There were several of us who hung out together in a group. No one was dating each other. Sure there were crushes but nothing really ever came of them. Well, except Shelley and Jim. They did get married. The rest of us though just enjoyed clubbing, weekend getaways, fairs, amusement parks, concerts and all the other fun stuff every young 20-something-year-olds should be enjoying. These were good times! I traveled to Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, Acapulco and tons of other places with my college buddies. I was heavily involved in community service belonging to different state-wide programs. Heck, the then Governor Voinovich hand selected me to take part in his Intergenerational Initiative. Okay, maybe not him directly but his staff, lol. I was also president of the Ohio Youth Action Council for a year. I kick started several community service projects while volunteering at an inner-city school. I was majoring in social work and really thought I was going to change the world. I did several TV and newspaper interviews. I gave speeches at the Ohio Senate and the Governor’s Mansion. My agenda was always about the foster kids. I wanted them all to have more than I did. Lots more. I was children services’ walking billboard of how a foster kid could turn out and whenever they needed to promote their image, I was the go-to-gal. So I was all about service and having fun in my early 20s. I saw Jimmy Buffett twice at Buckeye Lake. I’m sure the concerts were great, I just don’t remember much, lol! If my teenage son is reading this post, it was because I was busy studying while everyone else was partying, ahem. Fun, fun, fun times they were!
I Saw the Sign – Ace of Base
I loved this song. It was quirky and fun but I did at the time see the sign. I was over him and was beginning to realize that I wasn’t dead set on my current career choice in social work. Yep, I saw the signs…
Come To My Window – Melissa Etheridge
Have you ever really listened to Melissa Etheridge’s songs? I saw her in concert with the Indigo Girls at Miami University of Ohio. That was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Her songs are powerful. She exudes female strength. I was gaining my strength and in her songs I felt the power within…I finally was at peace with being single. I was truly independent. I was me…
Forever and Ever – Randy Travis
I finally loved myself and once I loved myself, I was finally truly open to being loved. Here is where Steve, my future husband, came into my life. It was a whirlwind romance. Seriously, whirlwind! One of best-friends’ sister was married to this awesome guy named Bobby. My best-friend threw a surprise 25th wedding anniversary for his parents. Bobby invited his best-friend, Steve, to the party. My best-friend paid for the whole party which was a huge feat considering we were only 22 or 23 years old at the time. To cut costs, he elicited the help of his friends. I was vacuuming the rented hall following the party. Steve came up to me and said, “let me do that for you.” He took the vacuum and swept the entire hall. Hmmmm….I thought. Then I was taking out the trash to the dumpsters. Steve came up behind me and said, “let me get that” and took the garbage bags out of my hands. HMMMMMMmmmm…he vacuums and takes out the trash?? It was love at first sight I tell ya! The next weekend, my room-mate and I hatched a plan to throw a fake keg party so that I would have a reason to invite him over. He came on his motorcycle. Name one 22-year-old gal who wouldn’t find that hot?! The next week, my room-mate and I were moving out. She was going to law school and I was still screwing around with my undergrad. I had an apartment already picked out and signed the lease. Steve moved in with me. Two months later, he proposed to me under our first Christmas tree. We planned for our wedding and scheduled it for the next summer. I found an incredible wedding dress for $550.00. I had worked extra hours to pay for it all by myself. Well, 4 months after Steve had proposed, the stick was blue. We scratched the big wedding plans and were married that following Friday by the Mayor of Obetz in his law office located in Groveport. It has been over 17 years now and we are still going strong. We have never been apart since that fake keg party. I also still have that wedding dress with the original tags still attached. I didn’t account for the baby bump when I was sized for my wedding dress, lol. Steve has the most angelic voice when he sings. In those early months, he sang this song over and over to me. He would even sing me to sleep…
Lady – Kenny Rogers
Well, you already know I married Steve but I had always said that I would only marry the man who memorized Lady word for word and serenaded me with this song. After a month of being together, Steve cuddled close to me and sang me this song, word for word. Yep, he is that amazingly sweet and the marriage proposal came about one month later. I originally had this song on an 8 track…
You are not Alone – Michael Jackson
I can’t tell you how fun it was playing house with Steve. Our first apartment together was so special. I often worked later than him. When I would come home, he would have this song playing and a glass of sweet tea on ice waiting for me. Yep, he is really that amazing…
Love Will Keep Us Alive – Eagles
This was our wedding song…our love song. Who knew it would foretell what was to come with PH…
It’s Your Love – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
Steve and I have an incredibly strong marriage. I am madly in love with him. Why is it so strong? Because we WORK it. We do everything together. Do we fight? Hell yes. Does it ever last more than half an hour? Never. He is my rock and my anchor.
Follow Me – Uncle Cracker
Was our son, Steve Jr., planned? Heck no. But man do we love him like crazy. He is our world. The three of us were inseparable. This was one of Stevie’s favorite songs when he was around 4-years-old. I can still remember looking in the rearview mirror and seeing Stevie screaming out the lyrics. He loved, loved, loved this song. So whenever I hear it, I can’t help but smile because I see our little boy bopping around in his carseat belting out the words. Happy thoughts…
My Front Porch Looking In – Lonestar
We waited two years after Stevie was born before trying to have another child. Turns out Stevie was somewhat of a miracle because 3 fertility doctors, several fertility drugs and 3 years later, we weren’t pregnant. We were told that our only chance would be in vitro fertilization as my ovaries were crappy. The cost back then would have been roughly $10,000 and had no guarantees. Steve and I decided that it just wasn’t meant to be. We were blessed with Stevie and were truly thankful for that.
Lose Yourself – Eminem
After Stevie was born, I went back to work knowing that Steve’s grandma was babysitting Stevie. One Friday, we got a call that grandma had a stroke. Grandma had some deficits and would need to be cared for. What are we to do? We didn’t know of anyone else who could babysit our son. We could have flipped coins on who would stay home to take care of our son. We both were making the same amount of money. Steve insisted it be me. I am so glad for the opportunity. His insistence I be an at-home mom was the greatest gift he had ever given me. That following Monday, I called into work and told them I would not be back, ever. It was a struggle living on one income. No cable, no cell phones, no eating out and it was all worth it. I wouldn’t trade those years with Stevie for anything! When Stevie started kindergarten, I went back to college but this time for nursing. Let me tell you, going from an arts degree to a science degree is a huge leap! I had to start at the beginning because the only science I took for social work was astrology or something else crazy like that. I was determined though. I studied my ass off. I am harder on myself than anyone else could ever be. Before every major exam, I would listen to this Eminem song to get me focused:
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime
Eminem got me through nursing school…
Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw
It was just after graduating from nursing school when our lives would be turned upside down. I was finally making enough money that Steve could cut back his hours and go back to school himself. That was always the deal. He worked 3 jobs putting me through nursing school and once I was nurse, I would make enough that he could quit his 3 crappy jobs and go to school. At my first job, my physical didn’t go to well…several tests later, I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. What?! What the hell is that?! There is no cure and I will continue to decline. I worked my ass off to get through nursing school. My husband sacrificed time and labor putting me through nursing school. PH wasn’t going to stop me. I worked and worked hard. I pinned my IV pump to my bra and battled through my shifts for over five years. Very few people had any idea of how sick I was. But I decided early on that I am going to live my life to the fullest, I’m going to play hard and love deeply. That’s what this song is all about. You live life differently when you are terminal. I am not just existing; I am LIVING…
Photograph – Nickleback
I live life differently. It’s all about the memories. I want my kids to remember their mommy. I take tons of photos. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love pictures. I am always with a camera in hand. I wake up everyday knowing that it will become a memory. So I make sure it is a good one…
Life is a Highway – Rascal Flats
I didn’t choose the majority of crappy things that have happened in my life but I chose how I was going to handle it. My childhood and my PH doesn’t define or control me…
Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
Everyday is a battle. Everyday. Getting out of bed. Getting dressed. Walking more than 20 feet. Talking for any extended amount of time. Balancing the can’t do with the can do lists of my life. I am sick but I am strong…screw you PH!
Jesus, Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood
In 2008, the unthinkable happened. We were assured by 3 different fertility experts 12.5 years ago that the chance of it happening was zilch to none. We were pregnant. Pregnancy is contraindicated for folks who have PH. Women with PH as severe as mine rarely survive after delivery. We were told I had a 50% chance I would not survive the first 72 hours after delivery because of my PH. We then asked what’s the baby’s survival rate? My cardiologist replied, “good, 100%”. Our minds were made up, we were having this baby no matter what. I put it in God’s hands and prayed he would let me stick around to be a mommy to another child. I asked Jesus to just take the wheel. Thank God his plan was for me to survive. We had no idea our family was incomplete until Spencer was born. Now we are complete. We are blessed, really blessed.
Everything I do I do it for You – Bryan Adams
Am I pissed I have PH? Some days. Most days though I don’t care. What I care about is our two children and my marriage. I PHight for them. Everything I do I do it for them. I love the three men in my life…