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The Best Gift Ever (December 2019)

Music to My Ears

atmathew December 24, 2019
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This story was submitted by Andrew Mathew to The Best Gift Ever collection as part of the December SEEQ sessions.

I’ve always been a passionate person. I’m that guy who cries just from a commercial, I get told at every corner that I wear my feelings on my sleeve, and I often feel overwhelmed in conversations that involve logic and reason.

I wonder a lot where our passions come from. Are they pre-programmed in us before we’re born, are we taught them, or are they simply the act of rebellion? I mention rebellion because I can picture in my head as a kid what I would be doing instead of doing homework. And at the time to my parents that was rebellious, but now I look back and see it as me exploring my passions.

And it was always pretty much the same thing every time. In my room. With my headphones in. Listening to the mix CD my mom gave me. Eyes closed. Thoughts nowhere near planet Earth. And that’s probably the best gift anyone has ever given me.

From an early age, I knew I loved music. My parents both grew up with music being their passions. My dad and his brothers started a band when they were younger and even spent a couple of years touring around the country. My dad was the sound equipment guy and found his love in mixing and audio engineering. My mom sang in the band and also performed at her local church. She loved to sing, and there are so many videos out there of her radiating beauty standing on stage with that crazy 80s harido….killing it. I mean absolutely killing it.

Their parents didn’t allow them to listen to mainstream music. At the time rap, rock, and jazz were all “sinful.” My mom used to hide a poster of Aerosmith under her bed and my Dad grew up a huge disco fan, mostly he just loved the Beegees. So they made a point to pass that love on to me. I remember when I was young looking through old stuff and finding an old MP3 player my uncle used to own. It was the first time I had control over the music I listened to. I finally could listen to what I wanted. And my parents realized that they couldn’t shelter me anymore from that moment on when it came to the music I listened to.

So, my mom, one year gave me a CD. At the time, I think I wanted an Xbox or something ridiculous. A CD!?! Mom! This is silly. It’s probably just Christian music. But she said she had spent a while picking songs intentionally just for me. The first time I listened to it, I must have hated it. My mom gave it to me, how was she supposed to know what good music sounded like. Gross, Red Hot Chili Peppers? Lame. I wanted to listen to other things. But slowly and surely, maybe because I had nothing else to listen to, I finally gave it a chance.

That CD forever changed my life. I began to memorize every word, find more from each artist, without ever saying a word to anyone. I didn’t want anyone to know these amazing songs and artists that I had found. I felt like I had hit the jackpot and wanted to keep it all to myself.

Well, fast forward to me, right now. I went to college for Economics but spent my time researching music. I joined clubs but spent more time going downtown by myself to go to concerts. Everyone was applying for jobs, while I was in the studio making music. I am passionate. This is true, and it often blinds me. I spend too much time and thought about the things that I am passionate about, namely music. But it feels different. Music is more than just something that sounds good.

Music is a story, it’s a friend when you feel lonely, words that you didn’t know you needed to say, language for deep emotions, and a connective tissue between you and your loving Mother who gifted that first CD to you all those years ago. I tease my mom about that CD every now and then, and she brings it up every time I play something in the car for her. She says, “you know I might have been the person to put you on to this genre you know Andrew?” “Ugh, whatever mom,” is mostly my response.

But recently, since moving out of my parent’s house. Music that I share with my Mom has a different meaning for me. It’s love, passion, hope, and affirmation for the person I am today. It’s when I’m feeling homesick, I throw on a song and think, my Mom is at work working her hardest to care for me and my sister. My mom is out there smiling because she has a picture of me on her desk. My mom is hugging me and wiping the tears off my face when I feel overwhelmed still as a 23 yr old adult. I feel that all from pressing play on a song.

You can’t really quantify the impact and importance a Mom has on a child. You can’t quantify the love a Mom has for her children. But I have something that comes close, and it just happens to be the best gift ever, and a reminder of all these things, in the form of a CD.



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