Like many chart-toppers in the early 2000s, Savage Garden was destined to be a one hit wonder. But what a hit….”I Knew I Loved You” was able to bring a tear to the eyes of even the manliest of men. Delilah, that radio host who thought she was in a rom-com, played it at least once an hour. My mom hated Delilah, but she loved that song, so we usually tuned in. She would say that it reminded her of us, her babies, and Tony would start to cry. Even now, the song still makes him a little weepy.
These are types of things Mum and I reminisce about as we head up to State College for the annual 4th of July festivities. It’s a familiar position I find myself in,riding shotgun in a mini-van as the two of us jet off on some adventure or family outing that my dad has opted out of. I feel like a good percentage of the time I’ve spent with my mom growing up as been in the car. First, as she wrapped me and Tony up still in our PJ’s to drop us off at our babysitters. During that time, the drives home were a constant fight for airtime as we both rushed to fill Mum in on what our day entailed. Later, our trips got longer and more exclusive. Tony got an after school job, and my mom got a job with more flexible hours which meant more opportunities for quick weekend trips to Pittsburgh or day trips to the Ocean City. Last summer, we broke our record of hours together in the car driving to and from Myrtle Beach, Pittsburgh, and Cincinatti in less than a month.
All of our road trips were filled with good Quality Bonding Time. Hours and hours of talking time lets you replay every childhood memory, discuss every aspect of a situation, and plot out my future life. Also, Mum always let me be the DJ, which was all my pre-teen soul ever wanted. Even when my ITunes was 25% Jonas Brothers she still let me play whatever I wanted, as long as I hit a few key songs. Elton John’s Greatest Hits was a given, as was the Wicked Sountrack. No one knows the story of Elphaba and Glinda better than we do at this point. Over the years, my taste in music has improved and my library has expanded but I still take my DJ duties as seriously as any 6 year old who is given a special job in kindergarten.
Because I’m a hopelessly nostalgic person, my preferred way of listening to music in the car is through carefully crafted mix CDs. I make a new one every month, and they’re my go to birthday/Christmas gift when my funds are a little tight. In fact, If I’ve never made you a mix CD, we’re probably not real friends. After years and years of promises, this past June I finally compiled Mum’s Mix Tape vol. 1 and it is filled with all of our classic road trip songs through the years. There’s Shania Twain teaching me how to feel like a women, Adele helping us get over heartbreak, Bonnie Rait to soothe our souls, and Ricky Martin to spice things up a little bit.
For us though, it’s more than a bangin’ mix tape. It’s a walk down memory in the best way possible. It’s a chance to reflect on all the great times we’ve had together in the front seat of a car and another opportunity for Mum to look over at me and say, “you know it’s true… I really did love you before I met you.”