I was sitting on a plane the other day and a thought hit me like like a ton of bricks – someday, someone is going to break my son’s heart. I sat up straight in my seat and had a moment of pure, unadulterated pain. I don’t know who she is going to be, or how she is going to do it, but someone is going to make my son feel the same way I felt many times growing up – alone.
It took me a minute to gather my thoughts and while I did, my iPod continued to play. I was listening to a playlist my wife had put together to listen to in the car with the kids. We’ve tried to instill a love of music into our children, and I’m happy to report that they are both fans of rock music. It was then that another thought snuck up on me – I needed to share what I learned about love with my son – a bit of advice on just how to navigate the murky waters of love and infatuation. And, as crazy as it sounds, the perfect way to do it was in the same way that I learned it – through the music of my youth. So here it is, an open letter to my son about the highs and lows of love.
“Everybody’s Baby” – Company of Wolves
She’s everybody’s baby when they turn the house lights down
And she takes the stage and leaves the world behind
Sometimes I think I’m crazy, trying to follow her around
And she treats her public well, and she always looks divine,
And she’s everybody’s baby but mine
You have to be careful about projecting your feelings onto someone else. Just because you are in love with someone (or think you are), doesn’t mean they are in love with you. Be persistent, but know that life isn’t a movie. You can drive yourself crazy trying to convince someone to love you. You may get some good poetry out of it – but that’s about it.
“Don’t Know What You Got (‘Till It’s Gone)” – Cinderella
Don’t ever take things for granted. Not the future, not your relationships, not your responsibilities, and certainly not the ones you love. It’s so easy to assume that everything will always be okay and everyone will always forgive you for any mistakes you make. You don’t want to wait until someone you love is gone before you realize just how much of a part of you they were.
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” – Poison
Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn
Not every story has a happy ending. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try; sometimes things just don’t work out. Even the things that are most beautiful in your life can ultimately cause you pain.
“Love Song” – Tesla
Everyone will have their heart broken, sooner or later. In that moment, it will feel like the entire world is going to end. You will be convinced that you will NEVER love again. That’s just not true. You will find love again. Life will go on. Things will get better – they always do. You just have to hang in there and weather the storm.
“Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Leppard
Listen! Red light, yellow light, green-a-light go!
Crazy little woman in a one man show
Mirror queen, mannequin, rhythm of love
Sweet dream, saccharine, loosen up
Sometimes you just have to have fun. Love isn’t always going to make sense. It’s not always going to be deep and meaningful and profound. Sometimes love is just going to be a crazy, chaotic, thrill ride that makes little sense. And you know – those are some of the best times of all.
“Is This Love” – Whitesnake
When you first “fall in love” it will consume you – heart and soul. You’ll think about her day and night. You won’t feel complete without her. That white-hot passion will cool after a time. That’s when you’ll find out if you’re really in love. If you simply can’t imagine even the dullest of days without her – then it’s love.
“Heaven” – Warrant
I don’t need to be a Superman
As long as you will always be my biggest fan
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day rat race; your job, the things you own – it’s tempting to define yourself by those measures. Don’t. To do that is a recipe for unhappiness, disappointment, and regret. Measure yourself by the impact you make in the life of those that you love. The love you share will sustain you far better than anything material ever could.
“More Than Words” – Extreme
You have to show people you care about them – you can’t just tell them. Words are cheap when they aren’t accompanied by actions. If you really want someone to know that you love them, show them. Treat them like you love them. Then, and only then, will the words you say have meaning.
“Born To Be My Baby” – Bon Jovi
Only God would know the reasons
But I bet he must have had a plan
Cause you were born to be my baby
And baby, I was made to be your man
There is someone out there for you – a soul mate. It may not always feel that way; there will be many, many lonely days – but there is someone out there. You just have to keep the faith, keep looking, and when you find her – hold on to her with all of your heart.
I hope, when my son finally has a chance to read this, he will find some of the same “promises in the songs of yesterday” that I have over the years. Learning to live and learning to love is a very rocky road. There are moments when you feel completely alone and moments when you feel that you could fly – but both are integral to the journey. Without the lows you will never truly appreciate the highs. But in the end, when you do find love – as I have – the journey is what prepares you to recognize that you have found something worth fighting for. Something special. Something that belongs in a song…
© 2010, The Word Zombie. All rights reserved.