This morning I got into Brandon's car and was reminded how much I love him.
In the beginning of our relationship there were a lot of typical romantic acts-- flowers, gifts and surprise dates. Brandon and I spent most of our early years in a long distance relationship and so we wrote dozens of letters to each other. In my crafting days I made him picture frames, clocks and a message in a bottle. While preparing to spend a semester abroad, I wrote Brandon a note or got him a little gift for each day I would be gone, each in it's own labeled envelope, stored in a box that I had mod podged with photos and magazine cut outs. We were young, in love and we cherished those ways of showing our feelings for one another.
As Brandon and I grew, our relationship matured and we learned to show our love in other ways. I love the unexpected text message or the way he grabs for my hand when we are walking. When he lets me watch trashy, reality television instead of a sporting event or when I get to pick the movie I am reminded that he loves me. A few years ago he woke up early and covered the mirror in our dining room with love song lyrics written in red pen. There are moments when I watch him with our daughters that are as precious as any gift he as given me.
And then there was today when I was moved so deeply. You see, although Brandon has always loved to shower with me flowers, DVDs and other things he knows I like, his favorite way to show how he feels is through music. Since we started dating in 2000, Brandon has been making "mix tapes" about our relationship. He names them and picks out music to describe how he feels at a particular point in time. They often include songs that I love, even if they are not his favorite.
Several years ago I stopped listening to music in my car and opted instead for talk radio. From morning until night there is usually some talk show that I am happy to listen to. But this morning Brandon and I traded cars and he had last been listening to a CD he had made in a series he calls "The Brandon and Erin Story." I have heard the CD many times and it may be my favorite of all the CDs he has compiled. As I was driving I was moved to tears as I realized how lucky I am. Brandon doesn't just pick songs to fill time. He picks songs that mean something. I was reminded of how deeply he knows me and loves me. Cheesy as it sounds, I felt wrapped up in love. I literally had a warm, fuzzy feeling.
I felt like I had opened a love letter; it was intimate. As I listened to each song I tried to remember what about them would make Brandon choose it for a CD about us. As always there are songs from Dave Matthews Band and others of our favorite artists. I laughed when it got to "Love Bug" by the Jonas Brothers-- Brandon's snarky acknowledgement of my brief and misguided obsession with the silly song. Then there are songs like Better Than Ezra's "Breathless" and Live's "Hold Me Up" that literally floor me with their emotion.*
With Valentine's Day less than a week away, it is easy to get caught up in thinking about flowers, jewelry and romance. But I don't need any of those gifts to know how incredibly blessed I am. Our new family is the incarnation of our love, and Brandon is constantly writing the soundtrack to our life.
I love you Mushy.
*If you have never heard either of these songs, you need to check them out. Really. Go. Now.