I’m a football fan. A loud, obnoxious football fan. Well, not the paint my face blue and orange kind of obnoxious, but you certainly know when I’m watching the game, even if you live 3 doors down. I’m a little vocal, but most redheads are so I guess that’s no surprise. The only time I’m known to be really quiet during a good game comes during the commercials on SuperBowl Sunday. See, as much as I love football, I love a good ad. Always have, likely always will.
Now, there are some companies you can count on to, if not “WOW” you each year, certainly impress. With their compassionate polar bears and touching moments, Coca-Cola is always a favorite. I’ve grown attached to the E-Trade baby and pray he never grows up to enjoy his abundant nest egg. I really liked VW’s small Darth Vader last year far more than the “Come On Get Happy” Rasta-guy this year, but I suppose you can’t hit one out of the park every year. Which brings me to my moment of vent: Damn, you Budweiser!
OK, so I love (most of) the Budweiser commercials. How could I not? I love this country. I love horses. I love to laugh, and, in particular when watching football and eating nachos, I love a good cold beer. Take a moment and think about the Budweiser advertising legacy: “What’s UUUUP?” and talking frogs and those amazing football-playing Clydesdales and oozing Americana until you want to paint your house red, white, and blue. They hold a solid place in America’s advertising history, and some of their greatest moments have played out while I’ve shushed my family during the coveted 4-ga-billion-dollar, 30 second, Super Bowl slots. Until this year.
This year, they crossed the line with me. They took my motherhood theme song and twisted it into an equine jingle. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love horses and some of my fondest memories have occurred while riding or mucking out a stall. Dating back to my early childhood, I spent hour upon hour bonding with friends among the sweet smell of hay and manure. My oldest daughter started riding at the age of 4, and her younger sister first mounted up at the age of 3. And, the world-famous Clydesdales happen to live just up the road from me (well, by an hour or s0, but it’s like they’re like my neighbors!) Neither my love of horses nor my particular fondness for Clydesdales is in question.
But really, Budweiser, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac? I’ve loved that song since I was a pre-teen, Stevie Nicks with her slightly raspy voice and the melody. It wasn’t until I heard it while watching my barely-teen older daughter through the window one day that it became my personal “motherhood anthem”.
“Time makes you bolder. Children get older and I’m getting older, too” called me from my reverie that day. Yes, that is the cycle of motherhood. I stopped and listened to the song with new ears. I heard it, not as the pre-teen who had listened to it when it was first released wondering where her life would lead. I heard it, not as the 20-something young woman who would sing along in the car, anxiously awaiting her life “to start.” I heard it, not as the nervous new mother, fearful of doing things wrong. I heard it as a woman, fully aware that changes were on the horizon and I heard the caution in the refrain:
“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I, I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older too
I’m getting older too”
There is so much I love about this song, regardless of that stupid commercial (which did get me choked up, if truth be told.) I’ve listened to that song several times since Super Bowl Sunday and my children are getting older. My oldest proudly displays her out-of-state college acceptance letter reminding me that, come August, there will be a bed left empty every night. I try not to let her see my tears. Stevie Nicks reminds me a landslide can bring us down, but that we must rise again, unafraid of the changes that come as our children grow. As a mother and a woman, I have learned I must be careful not build my life around anyone, in particular my children. However, when I build my life alongside, I allow them (my children, my spouse, my friends) the freedoms to pursue their dreams and in the process, I can do the same.
I can handle the seasons of my life and, just as Stevie promised, I have become bolder as I enter this “3rd Act” in life. You live, you learn, and you reflect. And, it seems to me “Landslide” offers a lot more wisdom and insight for women and mothers than it does horse breeders. But maybe that’s just me.
Please, watch the video and share your thoughts. What’s your personal anthem?
(And if you want to see the stupid commercial that hijacked my song, the link is below. But, if you’re a horse fan or a mama, grab a tissue before clicking on the link.)