Spotify has this playlist that popped up recently called “Your Top Songs 2018” which I thought was pretty cool. We have a family account, but we all have individual accounts within that, similar to Netflix. So, I create my own playlists and kids do theirs so I’m not listening to the latest Cardi B and they don’t have to listen to the same Neil Young song over and over again.
So, I put on the playlist and after one or two of “my songs” I hear a Miley Cyrus song, then an Ed Sheeran song, then a song by Bruno Mars. I start to question if I am playing the right playlist. I scroll through the list of songs and for every one of my songs, there is two for each of my girls. I start playing the songs and remembering that my oldest was going to do a dance to this song, so we listened to it for 3 weeks straight driving in my car to wherever we were going. Then I remember that after I would drop her off I would listen to the song and smile, just as I was doing in this moment when the song came on. No wonder it made my “top songs” playlist.
As I continued listening all the songs had a story. Neil Young was on there because I listened to him for months before and months after a concert I attended with my Dad. Just yesterday one of his songs came on and my oldest started singing it. Took a picture of it and added it to her playlist. Or a song by Sara Bareilles came on and I remember how we discovered a live album of hers and listened to it nonstop for weeks in the car. A Candlebox song was on there because it played once and I told a story about how my friend cried one time listening to it, so we would play it because it made me laugh a little and remember a good friend and now the kids liked that song, so no surprise it made my top songs playlist.
Some of my favorite memories of 2018 happened on a 5 minute car ride to drive my daughters somewhere. The phones get put down, sometimes a big universally important question gets asked and discussed and sometimes we just fight about who farted in the car. I introduce songs to my kids because they remind of someone or something that is important to me that isn’t in the car with us. They will hear Frank Sinatra because it reminds me of my grandparents, or The Moody Blues because my Mother and Father in Law love them. They hear stories of my life through the songs we play. And we write our memories together with that music. The songs will move from the reason I loved them to the reason the kids love them.
When my oldest gets in the car and says “Dad, I have a song you will love” my heart skips a beat. While she is off being a high schooler, experiencing life, friendships and all the stuff that comes with it, she still makes her Dad feel like he is important, like he is a priority.
Those rides will happen with less frequency as the kids get older, get their own cars, and live their own lives where Mom and Dad aren’t needed as much. Those days are coming faster than I want them to. But, these small moments, short car rides, quick conversations, are the ones I’ll remember. Sure, there will be big life changing moments, but for me, the best stuff happened in the car on the way to those moments.