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Susan Anderson stumbled upon a song that exactly expresses her feelings for her family as her children leave the nest.

The last chick is flying off to college. I’m so excited for her, yet “Don’t tell my heart, my achy, breaky, heart. I just don’t think it’d understand.” Once she leaves, I’ve pledged to not step foot in her room until she comes home for Thanksgiving. She’ll be twelve hours away, so quick weekend juts home are a no-go.

I don’t care if it’s your first, last, or the blessed middle child. When that one leaves, “You take a piece me with you.” (That Paul Young song). In fact Rob, my husband has nailed the feeling in this sentence, “I feel like I’m missing a limb.” Yes, the tear rolling down my cheek just splashed on the floor.

I’m a '70s and '80s music gal. My brain is just wired to those riffs, melodies, disco, Motown, punk, tech, boogie, southern rock and roll, ‘play that funky music right boy’ styles. Heck, I totally missed the '90s. I was busy birthin’ six babies. I played Mozart for Mommies, and Raffi, and the Donut Man.

So, fast forward to now. I’m branching out and listening to my kids’ music. Millennial bands, I call them. How many times have I rode in the passenger side of my daughter’s or son’s vehicle, and asked, “Who’s this?,” as they crank up the speaker. Sometimes Beth has had to tell me more than once. Or Danika, “Elliott Root or Moon Taxi.” Katie and her boyfriend just went to a concert featuring The Pixies and Weezer.

Oh yeah, my husband Rob commented, “The Pixies sing, “Where Is My Brain?” Right? It was in that movie we saw.”

Katie giggles back, “Dad, it’s “Where Is My Mind?”

Once for Christmas, Danika and I decoupaged some fit-to-size album covers from the band “Modest Mouse” on drink coasters we found at the thrift store, for my son Mark. And I’m so cool. When I’m getting ready for work, I play some of the cool millennial bands on my smartphone.

It was one contemplative morning, while brushing on the mascara on my few and thinning lashes, that I stumbled upon the group “Band of Horses.” Oh … my … goodness. This song, “No One’s Going to Love You,” became my new favorite. The irony is that these guys are young enough to be my kids. How did they write these lyrics just for me? Did they open a time capsule or something, and riffle through the “Memories and corners of my mind” (Barbra Streisand)? How did they know that Rob said those exact lines to me, as we “rolled with the changes” (REO Speedwagon)? The first line of the song: “It’s looking like a limb torn off, or altogether just, taken apart.” This is appropriate, because we have six kids, so we’re missing a lot of limbs. Then, “We’re reeling through an endless fall, we are the ever-living ghost of what once was.” If that ain’t the truth. Three of our six bedrooms are not being lived in. I put clean sheets on the beds when they come home on the holidays.

But then there’s this beautiful sonnet of a line: “But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do. No one’s gonna love you more than I do …” And all of a sudden, I’m back at UCF, in my dorm, when my tanned surfer/swimmer boyfriend, Rob, looked me straight from his beach-boy-blue eyes and said, “No one will ever love you more than I do.” Whoa. It struck me. Wow, I thought. That’s some verve. I didn’t use the word, nerve. Verve, is more like it. It means: vivacity; energy, vitality. I thought, if he has enough gumption to say that, it’s probably true. He had me with that line. That and the time I was at the hairdresser with a highlight cap on, looking like a baldy. I figured that if I felt as comfortable with him in that scary vision of myself, I was probably going to marry him. The song goes on… “And anything to make you smile -- It is the better side of you to admire.”

Before we started dating, I would jog in the mornings near campus. I’d pass the crew team. Rob was the cutest runner in the line of rowers out for their morning jaunt before getting out on the lake. I would smile. He said they were all huffin’ and puffin’, and I was smiling. He thought to himself, “She’s going to have healthy children someday.” Can you believe he admitted that to me? Then there’s this line: “But someone … they could’ve warned you …”

You know how it is with marriage. You take the good with the not so good. I needed major dental work. It was expensive. But then again, “Anything to make you smile.” We’ve had a lot of good times and bad, sickness and health, until death do us part. We joke sometimes, “I would have healthy children, but we should’ve checked my teeth.”

Following are some more bullet points: We are our autistic son’s legal guardians. He is now 28, and still lives with us. I was the primary caregiver for my dear mother in law for a year and half, when she was sick. We’ve lugged six children around with diapers, braces, driver’s licenses, dance, football, basketball, cross country, swimming, school lunches, and college tuition. We wear many hats. The butcher. The baker. The candlestick maker. And bottlewasher. We’re paying down our third mortgage in our 31 years of marriage. Things break all the time. The washer, dryer, AC, water heater. The roof leaks. “But someone, they should’ve warned you.” That line just makes me laugh.

A couple of months ago, I traded in our faithful nine-year-old minivan. I gave her one last look-through before saying goodbye. Opening the driver’s side door, I saw that the seam on the driver’s seat had a tear of about 4 inches. Seeing that and all the dents and scrapes, evoked so many memories. Then there’s the next line in the song: “When things start splitting at the seams and now, The whole thing’s tumbling down.” ( I mean, doesn’t that just get to ya?) “Anything to make you smile, You are the ever-living ghost of what once was.”

Rob still makes me smile. Every day. “I never want to hear you say, that you’d be better off, And you’d like it that way.” We must constantly strive to “keep our love alive.” (Another song lyric) “Someone, they should’ve warned you. That no one is ever going to love you more than I do.” No one’s gonna love you more than I do.”

To each one of our kids, Paul, Scott, Mark, Danika, Katie, and Bethany, “No one’s gonna love you more than I do.” And to the ultimate, “You’re the first, the last, my everything,” (Barry White), ROB … 

The nest is still here. We’re just back to where we started. Two love birds “Sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G." (To be spelled and sung.) “Someone, they should’ve warned you, No one’s gonna love you more than I do.”

Copyright 2018 Susan Anderson
Image: copyright 2018 Susan Anderson, all rights reserved.