If I were to pick a personal theme song, at the moment it would be this song by Kid Rock that plays tribute to a little old school Skynyrd . I've listened to it a hundred times in the past few weeks. Partially because it was a frequently played song along the route and at the end of the day on RAGBRAI (and we all know how I hang on to all things RAGBRAI for dear life), partially because I've been in love with it since I first heard it early this summer. I haven't yet decided if I'm proud or mortified that my 6-year-old can sing along and that both girls know that it's song #3 on the CD which currently lives in the car.
I'll be honest, there's a little part of me that get nostalgic when I hear this song play. For those unfamiliar, it's about this guy thinking back to the summer when he was 17 and all the carefree fun that goes with those days. It takes me back to the ease of life before much responsibility beyond self, a summer job, and friends.
The summer I was 17, Scott and I had been dating a little over 5 months. He was getting ready to head off to college in the fall, I was looking forward to the start of my senior year of high school. Nothing in particular sticks out in my mind, but I do remember the feel of a young, carefree love.
People are often amazed and shocked when I tell them I married my one and only high school boyfriend at the age of 20. Sometimes I too am shocked and amazed at how our relationship has played out over the past 16 years. It's been comforting and fun, but not always a walk in the park. I think pretty much everyone would agree with me that NO relationship ever exists without its ups and downs. When you've been with someone since your teenage years though, I think you get to deal with some interesting issues as you "grow up" together that not every relationship faces. At times those growing up moments have made things more challenging, but I also think weathering that time together has helped prepare us to handle all of life's ups and downs...together.
At our core, I think we're still basically the same individuals were were that summer when I was 17...but we've both definitely changed in our outwardly expression of who we are. That period of self discovery is tough enough on your own, it's complicated when you're trying to do it along side someone else who's going through the same metamorphosis. At times it has scared me to death that we're heading in two different directions. That as we continue to figure out who each of us is individually that the one won't very much like or understand the other any more. That our paths will become so separate, so individualized that we'll never join back up in a commonly traveled road.
And then some how, just as my head and my heart are a whirl with worry, when the foundation of my world start to break up (because what's I've realized is stress doesn't get to me too bad UNLESS I'm unsure about the state of my relationship with Scott), I see the re-converging of paths. Our commonalities start to shine through. The puzzle of how two different people come together to form one relationship starts to make a little more sense. My heart is filled with warmth and comfort and ease of the love I found at 17.
I know we will never find common ground on every little thing. Scott may never fully understand my yoga practice, I will probably never understand his infatuation with Fantasy football. I'm pretty sure I'm gonna stick to avoiding meat beyond fish, he will always be a carnivore. We will probably never agree on what is an acceptable amount of time one should spend watching TV. He will have his friends, I'll have my friends, and we'll have our friends. And I have remember that these small differences don't necessarily take away from who we are as a couple, they simply help define who we are as individuals in addition to our relationship. And that's OK.
But there are also areas which seem different on the surface which really, with further inspection, I realize are not. We joke about the fact that we're a two bike family. Mine runs on pedal power. His on horsepower. But given the chance, I know Scott would love to spend time out on the road with me pedaling, and I'm looking forward to when we can take our first little weekend trip on the Harley. We'll always both enjoy going to sporting events, even if he's actually watching the game and I'm more into socializing or watching other people in the stands.
When it comes down to it, we came together because despite our differences, we're similar in nature. We both value family and simplicity and love the community in which we live. We believe in living a good life and taking care of the people, places, and things which we are blessed to have as part of that life. And after 16 years, thinking of my husband still brings a smile to my face more days than not, his touch still warms my heart, and his arms are still the safest place I know when I need comfort.
All this, sparked by a simple song. Right now, listening to it never gets old. I listen and think about how we can bring a little bit of that carefree, young love back into our more complicated grown-up lives. I find peace, rather than worry, in the complexities of our relationship. I accept that life will continue to have it's ups and downs, that at times we'll be in sync, at times moving in different directions. I appreciate that through it all we can continue to be strong, independent individuals, while maintaining a strong, respectful, and fulfilling relationship. And if that means sometimes we just need to grab a bottle of whiskey and head out to the lake...I'm up for that too!