Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dear Harry, I made you a mixtape.

Alright. Get your barf bags ready, people. Today marks a decade since I jumped the broom (literally) with Mr. Harry Manning--known to all on this blog as The B.H.E.

Best. Husband. Ever.

Heads up to those new to this here blog: I live in a perpetual middle-school-ish crush-fog on my husband. For reals. And in between writing about patient care and teaching, I regularly interrupt programming for ridiculously effusive professions of undying love for the man I love. The one now known as far away as New Zealand by those three simple letters: The B.H.E.


Yeah, so if you met me at a medical meeting and popped over here for something medical, you might want to hit the archives or come back in a couple of days. Because today? Today won't be that kind of post.

At. All.

Consider yourselves warned.

I kept sitting down trying to think of a way to put into words what this man means to me. Sifting through my head for something to convey what he has meant to me for these ten year of marriage and twelve years of knowing each other. I keep typing and stopping. And typing and then starting over. Because honestly, I just couldn't seem to find the proper words to truly convey how absolutely fortunate I feel to have found this man. And to be the one he calls "Babe!" at the top of his lungs from the couch. 


Seriously, though. He is just . . . just. . . .just. . . .yeah.  See? I told you I was at a loss for words. That's what crushy-fogs will do to you, man.

But you know? When the words aren't coming out like I want them to, I always know where I can find some inspiration. Music. Always, always, always I can. And all who read here already know that my life always has a soundtrack playing in the background. And today? Y'all! My mental iPod has been ALL OVER the place. One minute I'm snapping my fingers and dancing, the next I'm sighing and crying. Because you know? Music just does that to me.  Especially music about love.

Today? Man. Music spoke to my soul more than ever. Here I am ten years into marriage and you know what? I not only love my husband--I like him. No, seriously. Like really, really like him. He's a cool dude. He's unselfish. He's funny. He's an awesome dad. And especially, he's a grown ass man. He doesn't make excuses nor does he tolerate them. He does what he says he'll do and doesn't waste time on petty things. Like ever.


I have so much respect for him on so many levels. In fact, we always tell each other that if for some reason we hadn't become a couple, we'd definitely have been good friends. And I believe that to be true. I think that's pretty awesome, don't you?

Anyways. If I was in middle school, I would make Harry a mix tape and slide it in his locker when he wasn't looking. Or in his backpack. But since half of the people reading this are too young to even know what the hell a mix tape is, I guess in this day and age it would have to be a playlist? Yeah. That.

Mmmm hmmm.

What am I even talking about? See? Love makes me crazy. It does. Look, man. I've been married for ten years . . .and I like my husband, find him attractive, and enjoy his company. That's good news, y'all! Matter of fact, I even wrote a little top ten about it. . . .

Yes!!! I bring you:


Got that? Good. Like to hear it? Here it go!

#10   "Let's Stay Together" as performed by Mr. Al Green

Let me be the one you come running to
I'll never be untrue.

Let's . . .let's stay together
loving you whether, whether
times are good or bad, happy or sad

I was out in the garage sweeping while blasting this tonight. Zachary caught me swishing my hips to the beat while sweeping. I turned around and he said, "Mom. Seriously? You cannot be serious, Mom."


#9  "Lucky to Be Me" as performed by Ms. Amel Larrieux

I am simply thunderstruck
With this change in my luck
Knew at once I wanted you
Never thought you'd want me too

I'm so proud
You chose me from all the crowd
There's no no other girl I'd rather be
I could laugh at loud
I'm so lucky to be me

The quiet simplicity of this song always moves me deep in my soul. I always say when speaking of Harry that I wasn't lucky in love before meeting him. And just ask any of my friends and they'll tell you that I'm not exaggerating. When I came to Atlanta, I had sort of decided that if I wasn't destined to marry, at least I could live in a good city. Seriously. I thought that. 

So I'm still thunderstruck with this change in my luck. I won't take a second of it for granted either. Oh--and if it happened for me? It can happen for anyone.

Man. I could laugh out loud.

#8  "Seeing for the Very First Time" as performed by Mr. BeBe Winans

 Now is that my heart
or was that thunder with this rain?
Was that a spark?
Did you touch me once again?
Are those my eyes?
Or are you looking back at me?
Is this a miracle?
Can it be true?
That its possible to make one heart of two

It's not a dream
I do believe, I do believe
That I'm seeing for the very first
Seeing for the very first
Seeing for the very first time.

Feel free to gag on this one. 

Dude. I wanted so badly to have this song sung by the soloist in our wedding but the only reason I didn't was because I cannot, cannot, cannot hear it without boo-hoo crying on the part with those lyrics above. Seriously. I kept listening to it over and over to desensitize myself but it didn't work. 

Isaiah just shook his head when he walked by me sniffling while listening to this song on my laptop. He's not insensitive--he's just lived here long enough to know what my happy tears look like.

See, he was the one who calls this our family's birthday. When he was only 4 years old he decreed it as such stating that "the day you and Dad got married was the day our family was born." Yup. So when I hear this song, I also think of the fact that we made one heart of two when Isaiah was born. . .and then did again when Zack came along. 

And that? That never ends well. BeBe belts out "It's NOT A DREAM!" and I'm done after that. Can you say ugly cry?


#7 "Breathless" as performed by Ms. Corinne Bailey Rae

Seems like everyone else has a love just for them
I don't mind we have such a good time my best friend
But sometimes, well, I wish we could be more than friends
Baby, do you know? Do you know?

I get so breathless when you call my name
I've often wondered if you feel the same
There's a chemistry, energy, a synchronicity when we're alone
so don't tell me you can't see what I'm thinking of . . .

 Now this song isn't so much about us now. But those first cords on that guitar and that very first line always kill me.  Because I so very remember feeling that way. Feeling like everyone else had a love just for them. Like it was yesterday I remember that. I hoped and prayed for someone to come along that would be my love and my friend at the same time. Fortunately, Harry came to me as both so I never had to feel those wistful emotions that Bailey Rae croons about in this tune. 


I do still remember how it felt to feel like everyone else had a love just for them. I do. And that makes me even more thankful for Harry. 

Plus he still makes me breathless.

#6  "Make Me Better" as performed by Fabolous featuring Ne-Yo

I'm gon' need Coretta Scott if I'm gon' be King

I'm a movement by myself.
But I'm a force when we're together.
I'm good all by myself.
But baby you, you make me better.

 Every time we hear this song we rock out to it. Ha ha ha. Both of us morph into alter egos--The B.H.E. some rapper dude and me a really, smart and non-hoochie mama version of a video vixen. 


#5  "I Want to Thank You" as performed by Alicia Myers

It took a long time for it to happen
but I knew those nights I prayed
that you would send me someone who's real
and not no one for play
I kept the faith
and didn't worry
my nights grew longer than the days
until one day
it really happened
you sent true love my way
and I know it couldn't have happened without you
ooh without your love. . .


When I hear this song playing anywhere near a dance floor? Forget about it. I black out, do you hear me? Because this? This is the JAM right here! I'm talking an ANTHEM.  See, y'all youngsters don't know nothing about his here! Please tell me what could be better than a DISCO TESTIMONY?

*stomps foot*


*holds a lighter in the air for a few seconds*

Whew! Click the "feeling it" button if you know somethin' 'bout this song! I'll be able to tell how many of y'all are old or at least old souls. 

P.S. Don't worry if you have never heard this before in your life. It means you are 
a.) not black and/or over the age of 42, 
b.) someone who did not attend a historically black college 
c.) someone who did attend a historically black college but never went to any of the house music parties or to Freaknic (yeah, I said it), 
d.) lame 
e.) a and b 
f.) c and d 
g.) all of the above.

Now pardon me while I go back to my Donna Summers impression.

#4  "Adore" as performed by Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson

Until the end of time
I'll be there for you
You own my heart and mind
I truly adore you
If God one day struck me blind
Your beauty I'd still see
Love's too weak to define
Just what you mean to me
From the first moment I saw you
Ooh, I knew you where the one
That night, I had to call you. . . 

Remember that I called Harry five minutes after he gave me his phone number? Ha ha ha.  Sure did. And I also called my daddy the night of our very first date to tell him that I had met my husband. Hand over heart, I did. I think I called JoLai, Mommy and Deanna, too.


And seeing as I do ADORE that man, this song is a must on the mixtape playlist. Claro que si!

Okay. So I'm not sure y'all know this or not, but Prince has some kind of YouTube po-po that comb the net for his music. I am going to embed a video but I guarantee it will be replaced with something bizarre in at least two hours. Ha.

This is worth a 99 cent download on iTunes, though. We like to do the 9th grade awkward slowdrag to this song. It mortifies the kids which is an added bonus.


Raise your hand if you had your first butterfly-tummy-feelings in a hot gym while dancing to this song. . . .

Oooooh! I'm tellin'!

#3  "As" as performed by Mr. Stevie Wonder

As around the sun the earth knows she's revolving
And the rosebuds know to bloom in early May
Just as hate knows love's the cure
You can rest your mind assured
That I'll be loving you always
As now can't reveal the mystery of tomorrow
But in passing will grow older every day
Just as all is born is new
Do know what I say is true
That I'll be loving you always

No mixtape playlist is complete without Stevie Wonder. And this? This, too, is an anthem. I have no idea what the woman who inspired this song must have done to that man. 


If somebody says you can be as sure of their love as the sun revolving around the earth? Come on, people. That's love.  

Ha ha ha. . .and how many of you have always wondered what Stevie was talking about on that throaty-growly part at the end? We all assume it's something deep and good, right? Well thanks to Google, that mystery is now unlocked:

We all know sometimes life's hates and troubles
Can make you wish you were born in another time and space
But you can bet you life times that and twice its double
That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed
so make sure when you say you're in it but not of it
You're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell
Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love
And maybe our children's grandchildren
And their great-great grandchildren will tell . . . 

I'll be loving you 

Geeze, Stevie. See? We knew it was deep.

Good ol' Stevie.

#2  "Just the Way You Are" as performed by Kindred the Family Soul

And I love how you came along and made the world for me secure
It's deeper than you know--you made me believe I'd found a love for my soul
When you think the love is gone I'll always be here as your cover
You see we've gone through the storm and I could never see me with no other
Your eyes they shine brightly when I'm with you
You make my heart sing in ways I never knew
I love you just the way you are

I have listened to this song no less than seven trillion times in the last two weeks. I absolutely love the lyrics to this song. Especially the line "you made me believe I'd found a love for my soul." 
I blogged about this song before on one of my super crushy-fog days. That post tells it better than I can now.

#1  "My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration" as performed by Mr. Teddy Pendergrass

Things never looked clearer
Peace within never felt nearer
My burden's gone, it's turned into a song

Tender as a baby's touch
I needed you, oh, so much
At last the load is so light

You're my latest, I tell you you're my greatest
My latest, my greatest inspiration
You inspire me, inspire me
Don't you know it?

This right here? All. Day. Long.

This is our song. Harry says it's like it was written just for him. And that makes me so happy inside that I just don't even know how to explain it. 

Today, I left notes all over the house with lyrics to that song. My favorite line is the one where he says "You inspire me. Don't you know it?" 

Because he does.

I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but I have to keep saying it:

If this happened for ME, it could happen for anyone. Nearly all of these songs (and a ton more) nurtured my lonely soul long before I met Harry. So hopeful and uplifting. So demonstrative. I always knew that if I ever had the chance to know that kind of love that I'd shout it from the rooftops. I'd profess it early and often and never, no not ever, see it as a given. 


Honestly? I have twenty or thirty more songs I could have played that mean just as much to me. But the point is that, this part of my life is worth turning into a symphony every single day. I love my husband, am in love with him, and like him all at the same time--and ten full years after marrying him.

And that? That's something to sing about. Damn, it is.


Happy Anniversary, Mr. Manning. You, my love, keep a song on my lips and joy in my heart. You do.

So let's stay together. Because every day that we do, I'll be feeling lucky to be me and will feel like I'm seeing for the very first time. No only do you make me breathless, you make me better. I want to thank you, Mr. Manning, for being a prince of a man and one that I genuinely adore. And just as those rosebuds knew to bloom on our wedding day in early May, I'll be loving you always. Please know that I love you just the way you are and that you, my amazing husband, will forever be my latest and greatest inspiration.

And if that doesn't convey my emotions. . . .I made you a mixtape which might say it better than I can.

Ten to the good, baby!

Your wife,

Kimberly a.k.a. "BABE!!!"

Happy Birthday, Team Manning.

Reposting these two videos which celebrate our family and our love.

and this, the embodiment of being glad for the day our family was born.


  1. Happy tenth anniversary to a beautiful couple!

  2. Loving it all the way from New Zealand.

  3. The happiest of anniversaries to the two of you, you know that I am manifesting one of my own BHE's. I bet Brickhouse by The Commodores is on Harry's playlist, lol. I think I will start having you do my new playlists on my boring old mental ipod. Love to the family.

  4. Happy 10th anniversary to #TeamManning.

    You don't realize how much of an inspiration you are. Sometimes, when I'm feeling discouraged, I come by and read your posts to remain steadfast. Still unlucky in love, but remaining faithful. You and BHE prove that somethings are worth the wait in a world full of those settling.

    *cheers to the Mannings!*

  5. Happy Anniversary Dr. Manning and B.H.E.! This was truly a beautiful post and I'm so happy for you, nothing like two people who like and love one another. I pray one day I'll be able to let the world know I'm in love. Again, Happy Anniversary and many blessings.


  6. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary! My hubby and I are about to celebrate our 25th (obv. I was a child bride -- ha, ha) and I made him a mix CD for his road trip down to NC to visit his parents this week -- no kidding. I may or may not have included a whole bunch of mushy love songs. He is still (and always) my crush and I flirt outrageously with him on a regular basis. :-)

  7. Of course, I love this… and, “I want to thank you” is the JAM!

    Let me clarify one thing… You did NOT call me to tell me about Harry or your first dates…

    No ma’am. No sir.

    I heard about Harry from Stacy… we were having a conversation & she mentioned Harry once or twice. I finally said, “Who in the hell is Harry???” She said, “Kimberly’s Harry.” I had not one single clue who she was talking about. So I called you, and said, again… “Who in the hell is Harry???” At that point you just about burst into tears and said, “I didn’t want to jinx it by telling you too soon!!!” (You have to make sure you’re extra dramatic when you read that last line to realize how you actually sounded. LOL!) Hand to heart, that’s how you told me about Harry. Of course, I understood completely… and the rest is history.


  8. Happy Anniversary to you both, and Happy Birthday to your family! Lovely tribute to love.

  9. I was waiting for this post. :) As always, makes me smile. To manymore years of ever-growing breezy fun love. You are blessed Dr Manning. God continue to bless Team Manning :)

  10. Happy anniversary to one of the most startlingly beautiful couples in the world.
    And let me just tell you that I was at lunch with my husband today and I looked at him and tears came to my eyes and I as write this, they are coming back because, well, just because I love him like that. Thirty years married this year. So, may it be that way for you as well.

  11. Happy anniversary y'all - wishing you a long lifetime of love and happiness!

    ...and I was scared when I got to song #5 cause I didn't recognize it right off! About 5 seconds in, it was all good. Whew!

  12. "Mom. Seriously? You cannot be serious, Mom."

    HILARIOUS! Love this post. It's one of my favortites. Happy Anniversary and Birthday to Team Manning. I'm still hoping it will happen to me. You inspire me to think it will. :)

  13. Ya'll are so blessed to have each other. Happy, happy ten years and may there be many more!

  14. Happy 10th Anniversary! May you have 70 more and may each be better than the one before it. ~Nancy


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

Related Posts with Thumbnails