When you live in a mid-size city with teenagers you drive a lot. This is because the city is too small for a robust public transportation system. And the city is too big to walk or bike to the all the daily places you need to go.
You spend a lot of time in the car.
We have a system. On the way “there” (where ever there is) girl child sits in the front seat. On the way back (from there) boy child sits in the front seat. It’s the genius plan the ragamuffins came up with to solve the endless fighting about who gets the front seat. You can’t imagine what a big deal this is.
As we spend so much time in four-wheeled transit to and fro, mostly I make our trio of humanity listen to a steady flow of nonstop public radio. You know, those calming voices of war and strife. I give a thousand thanks for Iowa Public Radio. But every once in a while I let the front seat designee choose the music and sometimes I like it.
Our song du jour is a peppy tune that’s easy to dance to, if not for sitting in a square box, put out by a British boy band, apparently. It’s called “Glad you came.” It’s just a nice song. “I think this would be a great funeral song,” I say to the kids. “You know, like a celebration, like everyone’s glad this person existed. I want this for my funeral.”
“What a great idea, Mom!” they said. No, they didn’t. They pretty much didn’t say anything. I was talking to myself.
“No, actually, this would be a great birthing song, you know, celebrating a new life that has come into the world,” I say. “Get it? I’m glad you came.”
“Yeah, Mom, I love that idea!” the kids say in unison. Just kidding, they didn’t really say that.
Boy child actually had ear buds in so he didn’t hear a word I said. Girl child shares my fondness for this song, but I’m sure she’s not associating it with transitioning from the before and to the after. I’m pretty sure the band doesn’t mean that either. Still, it’s nice. Reminds me that I’m glad my kids are here, and to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t have always said that.
There were many times I wouldn’t have said that. And even these days, when it seems that every second is sucked into getting them here and there, I’m not always sure.
But for a few minutes, when we blast this song on the Pioneer system in my new little car, I believe it a lot. We especially like the “Glee” version of the song (as we often do).
I would like to dedicate this song to all of you who care for children, who contribute to children’s charities, who help with the care of children, who teach children, who lead youth groups, who teach Sunday school, who give us jobs so we can support our children, who befriend me so I don’t strangle my children, who advocate for women’s health so we don’t die from bearing children. Yup, it takes a village. I’m glad you came.
Terri MorkSpeirs is a writer, mother and the communications manager for the Des Moines Area Religious Council. She recently completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing.