I was just now listening to one of my favorite songs, Alabama’s “The Maker Said Take Her” and started wondering how I’m supposed to raise the boys to be decent humans. I was listening to the chorus when I wondered if boys were still raised this way and was this one way I could raise mine.
“The maker said take her and love her forever
Take care of her for life
And treat her right
Never forsake her, don’t be a heartbreaker
The maker said take her and love her forever
Just treat her right”
I was wondering if I should raise my children the old-fashioned way that I was raised, you grow up to get married and have a family. Or the new age way: find yourself, establish a career, help society, and go climb mountains somewhere in between all of that. I’m torn because I want to raise respectable Southern gentlemen but at the same time I don’t want them to think the sole purpose of life is to pair off with someone and not ever be independent.
I thought about the way I’ve been treated by some boys and men in my lifetime. How my father approved of some and would have disapproved of others. How do you teach a teenage boy in the midst of puberty to respect a girl? How do you convince a boy to leave the high school girlfriend at home and go off to college?
Something tells me I may not have to worry about these things as one of my children could turn out to be gay. And he’d be a diva at that.
But, seriously. I was raised to believe that the only reason I was leaving the house when I reached of age was because I was moving out of my parents house to move into a house with my husband. Yep, you only left to get married. The importance of college wasn’t stressed upon me. My mother never went and my dad dropped out his first year when he realized he could make more money working full-time. No female on my mother’s side went to college. My dad’s two sisters went to college. But I was still unsure of how it worked. All I know is come sophomore year I was being told I had to go if I expected to get anywhere in life.
But I wanted to live the life of the girl in the country songs. I was looking for that boy in the Alabama song to love me strongly, passionately, and faithfully. And speaking of being loved like that, I wanted what John Michael Montgomery sang about in “I Can Love You Like That.” I grew up in the time of 90’s country music with Trisha Yearwood’s “She’s in Love with the Boy” and the Judd’s “Mama He’s Crazy”. And in Wynonna Judd’s own “Young Love” and Tanya Tucker’s “Two Sparrows in a Hurricane” it was predetermined that I would meet that boy at a young age, fall instantly in love, get married and grow old with him. We’d have babies. live in the country with the picket fence and live happily ever after.
And I can’t just blame the female artists for swaying me to believe in love. I thought the right man would worship me and protect me. Like my dad did my mom. After all, this kind of love was sang about in 90’s country songs too. Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Take the Girl”, Tracy Lawrence’s “Keeper of the Stars”, Clay Walker’s “Hypnotize the Moon”, Randy Travis’ “Look Heart, No Hands”. Don’t get me started on George Strait.
Here I sit having played out another country song. Lee Ann Womack’s “Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago”. Yep, I’ve been married and divorced twice. Life didn’t play out how I had planned. I don’t know if I did it all to myself by believing love was a Nashville kind of love with devotion, fireworks, dancing under full moons, and making love on the banks of a river. I’ve made out by a river a few times. That’s as close as I got to Deanna Carter’s “Strawberry Wine”.
No, my life turned out like other country songs with a string of addicts and cheaters. No trailers though. I’ve been guilty for both giving in too soon and giving up too soon. I haven’t always been the deserving girl in country love songs either though.
What have I learned after all these years? That kind of love doesn’t exist (at least I’m telling myself that because that’s what people tell me and I haven’t experienced it) and I’m a hopeless romantic (still a little bit of a hopeful one though). I’ve known love a few times and didn’t know it. It’s been shown to me in forehead kisses, an arm wrapped around me in the pew in church on a Sunday morning, it’s been a jar of pickles given to me when I’ve been PMSing, it’s been mixed CD’s, and holding hands on the way to the store.
I’m not going to raise my boys on 2010’s country music. They don’t need to get a girl drunk and make her dance in the headlights of their pick up truck in the rapey-sounding songs being recorded these days. Respect yourself, respect others, be a good friend and the rest will play out how it’s supposed to. Honestly, they should be realists and listen to death metal. That’s really the only thing guaranteed in life.
I’m just going to go drown myself in Girl Scout Cookies and Bryan White’s “Someone Else’s Star.” By the way, Bryan White is another 90’s country dick.