(Third time's the charm. If it doesn't work I'll be so disappointed.)
When I was 12, I had gotten back into Hanson after about a year of thinking I was "too mature" for their music, and I had been listening to their first releases a lot. My mother didn't love their stuff but she knew I did, so for my 13th birthday, she and my dad bought me tickets to see the band at Carnegie Hall for the end of the Underneath Acoustic Tour. Mom brought me; I remember her telling people that even though she didn't like Hanson, she was happy to make me happy. Fast forward to the night of the show and she liked their performance so much that she bought me Underneath Acoustic and insisted we listen to it on the ride home.
When Underneath came out, we got it the day it was released and listened to it in the car constantly. She took me to see them live 5 times that year, and she enjoyed every concert just as much as I did. In between shows, we would blast their CDs while driving anywhere, Penny & Me being our favorite song to sing together.
We ended up going to about 28 Hanson concerts together over the years, and there were only a few shows that I went to without her. These are some of the happiest memories I have.
After I got my first 2 tattoos, we decided we'd get a mother/daughter tattoo at some point, and we both agreed that it would be fitting for me to get "turn the radio up" and her to get "push the pedal to the ground". The logic was based on both the good memories and the fact that she always did the driving and left control of the music to me. On Christmas Eve 2019, we agreed we'd go in January to get them done.
Mom passed away completely unexpectedly the day after Christmas. It's been (at the time of this post) just over 4 months and I'm still a mess and every day feels like a challenge, like I'll never be completely myself again. In January, I went to get a piercing changed and, while there, decided to get the planned lyrics from Penny & Me done, but now including the line that was intended to be for mom.
I'm still heartbroken and I'm pretty sure that I'll always feel her loss in this raw, exposed-nerve way; she was the person I was closest to for my entire life. Now, though, I'll always have a physical reminder of the good times we shared together and of that bond we had.
There are so many things I could talk about in relation to Hanson and why I love being a fan. I grew up in this fandom; I fell in love with the music when I was 6 and never really got over the feeling of joy their music brings me. I truly think that Hanson has changed my life in ways I wouldn't have expected, from showing me that I could make my dreams come true to finding friends that I love with my whole heart to bringing me places I never would have gone otherwise. But the fact that, through Hanson, I was able to find that common ground between my mom and I, and that we ended up so close because we could connect over the music, means more to me than I could ever say.