When She says, “Baby”

I was lucky enough to have had a first love. My high school sweetheart, Linda, and I held court for four years. Two years in high school and then a long-distance relationship when College Station and San Marcus, Texas were separated by 140 miles, 2 1/2 hours by car, and truly expensive phone calls. When Linda asked me about getting on with our lives, I was only a college Sophomore totally unprepared for the burden and responsibilities of being a husband, friend, and life partner. In my mind, my journey was bigger than settling down at 20. So, I ran away and joined the Army.

Trust me, the girl was not the issue. Linda would have made the perfect partner, lover, and wife. No question. The man who stepped into my vacated spot found out for himself. He was good to her. And she to him. If my math is correct, they will celebrate 40 years of marriage with four grown children in the next year. I remember their wedding like it was yesterday. Yes, I was invited and attended.

Listening to Jason Aldean’s “When she says baby” I am reminded of both Linda and her incredible parents. A couple who set the bar very high in the love department. Even after raising three kids, toiling in corporate America, and the pull of gravity had taken their toll, Linda’s parents still possessed a spark. A twinkle in their eyes that refused to be extinguished. Linda’s mom and dad were my models for marriage. They had it all. Respect. Romance. Loyalty. And a serious dose of attraction.

As I listen to the song’s lyrics it harkens me back to “What we really want out of life” and a partner. I find songwriters are amazing at getting to the “heart” of a matter. The music embodies that partner we all crave. Please feel free to enjoy Aldean’s hit while you read on. The portion of the lyrics below truly resonates with me. How about you?

“Just lay down by my side
Let me love you through this life
Yeah she’s the perfect shot of faith
When every bit of mine is gone

Somethin’ I could believe in a best friend
And heaven sent a love to lean on
But when she says baby (baby)
Oh no matter what comes ain’t goin’ no where

She runs her fingers through my hair
And saves me
Yeah that look in her eye’s got me comin’ alive
And drivin’ me a good kinda crazy

When she says baby
Oh, when she says baby
Yeah that look in her eye’s got me comin’ alive
And drivin’ me a good kinda crazy”

Consequently, I was perplexed by polling out of the pandemic surrounding a “meaningful” life. The article “Where Americans find meaning in life has changed over the past four years” came out on November 18, 2021. According to Pew Research Center, society, places, and institutions became more meaningful than a romantic partner?? You are kidding, right? Nope. Check out the graphic below.

Thankfully, the good people at Pew Research Center gave me and any researcher copious background notes to their polling allowing a deep dive into their process. Their data collection spanned 17 advanced economies with a sampling of equal size in a freeform style. In both years, the Center asked U.S. adults to answer the following question in their own words: “What about your life do you currently find meaningful, fulfilling, or satisfying? What keeps you going and why?”

Breaking the poll down in the US does indicate a drop from respondents mentioning spouse or romantic partner versus Pew’s 2017 presentation. Though in the raw poll many respondents did mention family, not specifically a spouse or romantic partners. However, given the pandemic’s theft of freedom, it should not be a surprise that having access to society as a whole would be paramount or top of mind to many. Also, as in 2017, about half of adults who mentioned society (49%) brought up something negative, such as personal frustrations or difficulties.  That bares out in Gallup’s recent work from August 2021 depicted in the graphic below showing a low in institutional confidence.

Back to our romantic relationship with the one who says, “Baby”, the Pew Research Center’s data is likely skewed by top-of-mind bias caused by the pandemic. I assert our desire for romantic pairing is born of our desire for our species to survive and our innate need to share meaningful milestones in our lives with a special someone. But who am I?

“As humans, the relationships we form with other people are vital to our mental and emotional well-being and even our survival,” Dr. Sheehan D. Fisher, Ph.D. at Northwestern Medical in his September 2021 article, “5 Benefits of Healthy Relationships.”

For the record, “Baby” is the #2 pet name for romantic partners as measured by several very unscientific polls. To close the loop I opened at the beginning of this post, I got that big life I craved plus four amazing kids (all grown), and three wonderful grandkids. Sadly, I missed out on the girl embodying the lyrics of the song. Who knows what tomorrow holds?

What do we really want out of life? Someone who says, “Baby” and means it.

Published by Robert Q Watson

During my first six decades on this earth, I lived life at great heights often on the razor’s edge. Consequently, I have enjoyed incredible successes and endured mind-numbing failures. Truthfully, I have had a hell of a view.

2 thoughts on “When She says, “Baby”

  1. So glad I stumbled onto this post as I’m doing my series about men who use dating apps. 😉

    I will do something with this post and link back to you maybe next week when I have a little bit more time. So many interesting tidbits to dig deeper into the intricacies of relationships…

    I appreciate your intelligence, you’re writing style and the way you craft and shape each post.

    This might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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