That's the Way I Always Heard It Should Be
Written by Carly Simon and Jacob Brackman
Performed by Carly Simon
My father sits at night with no lights on
His cigarette glows in the dark.
The living room is still;
I walk by, no remark.
I tiptoe past the master bedroom where
My mother reads her magazines.
I hear her call sweet dreams,
But I forgot how to dream.

But you say it's time we moved in together
And raised a family of our own, you and me -
Well, that's the way I've always heard it should be:
You want to marry me, we'll marry.

My friends from college they're all married now;
They have their houses and their lawns.
They have their silent noons,
Tearful nights, angry dawns.
Their children hate them for the things they're not;
They hate themselves for what they are-
And yet they drink, they laugh,
Close the wound, hide the scar.

But you say it's time we moved in together
And raised a family of our own, you and me -
Well, that's the way I've always heard it should be:
You want to marry me, we'll marry.

You say we can keep our love alive
Babe - all I know is what I see -
The couples cling and claw
And drown in love's debris.
You say we'll soar like two birds through the clouds,
But soon you'll cage me on your shelf -
I'll never learn to be just me first
By myself.

Well O.K., it's time we moved in together
And raised a family of our own, you and me -
Well, that's the way I've always heard it should be,
You want to marry me, we'll marry,
We'll marry.
I chose this song because it portrays some of the conflicts I felt growing up in the 70s about what a woman was supposed to be.  Does a woman need a man to be fulfilled?  Can a woman be herself and be part of a couple?  It also defined some of the conflicts inherent in growing up believing you can be anything you want to be, but not being allowed to play in Little League.  The women's lib movement opened doors to dazzling possibilities, but never explained how to be a Girl Scout troop leader for your daughter's troop while pursuing a career.  I think it helped me come to terms with the need to compromise on some things, which in turn helped me accomplish more things in more spheres than if I'd rigidly put one thing first and refused to back down on my expectations there.  I played it a lot in college while I was trying to decide whether the guy I was seeing was the one.  27+ years later, he still is, so I must have done something right back then.
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