A friend of mine once pointed out that I turned to country music and chick-flicks when talking about my feelings. I’d never noticed the tendency, but having just quoted a song there was no sense denying it. Afterward, I figured it’d be more intellectual, to say nothing of original, if I relied on my own words. But then that cotton commercial, the one that asked “[h]ow different can we be if we all like to wear the same thing?” popped into my head. Well, I thought, the same could be said for feelings, so I let it ride.
Recently I found myself in a put-it-into-words quandary. It was early evening and my daughter and I were driving home from the store. The windows were down, the sun was setting and my daughter was chatting indecipherably in the back seat. In other words, the moment was primed for a pop song or feel good movie. First, I tried movies. All that came to mind though was Cold Mountain: beautiful and romantic true, but also depressing and lonely. I tried music. John Denver seemed almost appropriate but I was gazing at the Shenandoah not the Rockies. James Taylor also almost worked, but again, wrong state. I did a reflexive rear-view peak at my daughter and just like a T-Mobile commercial my pop-network was there for me: Brooks and Dunn “Front Porch Looking In”, Brad Paisley’s “One in a Million”, Sex and City’s Charlotte as a mom-to-be, the theater version.
My daughter wasn’t doing anything extraordinary. In fact she’d just made me yet another witness to the destructive nature of goldfish crackers. Countless cracker carcasses were crushed and squished into the seats and her hair, with two more tiny handfuls at the ready. I wished, like Sarah Evan’s sang in “Let’s Dance”, that the world could spin a little slower.
Then I remembered that I’d already been granted that wish. The day I met my daughter, I stepped into my heart-house, my own secret garden and realized for the first time that the pictures were askew, the linens wrinkled, the hedges untrimmed. And just like that, time slowed and everything resettled softly, perfectly neat and straight like the curves of her face, her hands.
The beautiful crusty face that smiled back at me that afternoon held the answers to my everything. Her still unbridled innocence, joy, curiosity and even her disappointment, is my humanity. My earlier life-searches were steps that led me first to my husband, then to her. But let me turn to Rascal Flats who, the professionals that they are, really express it well when they sing:
“[E]very long lost dream, led me to where you are. Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars; pointing me on my way, into your loving arms. This much I know is true. That god blessed the broken road, that led me straight to you.”
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