These Are The Days

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Tag: james taylor

Deep Greens and Blues

When I moved to Orlando permanently in the fall of 1991, I was 21 and sharing an apartment with other Disney cast members. The previous summer, I did the college program and when I returned home that September, I made the decision to move to Florida permanently within the year. I lived in Disney housing for a short while and then eventually found an apartment with some friends.

Deep greens and blues Hyundai Excel

Not my car, but wicked close.

My transportation was an old, red Hyundai Excel that barely got me from place to place (omg remember those? They were the first Hyundais, I believe). Of course, it had a standard tape deck and in the compartment between the driver and the passenger seats were the only cassette tapes I owned: Wilson Phillips’ debut album, “Wilson Phillips” – favorite song is Hold On. Elton John’s “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” – favorite song is the title song. And, James Taylor’s Greatest Hits. I’d be hard-pressed to choose a favorite James Taylor song, but among my top three are: Fire and Rain, Up On the Roof, and Sweet Baby James. I played these three tapes until they wore out. And I knew every song by heart.

Music is powerful stuff. These three albums take me right back to the years between 1988 and 1991. I was still trying to figure everything out then and I guess this music, these artists, and their songs, sort of helped me along.

512sJmysGxLWilson Phillips’ song “Hold On” always makes me smile. No doubt because of the final scene in the movie Bridesmaids 🙂 but also because I remember turning the volume up and singing at the top of my lungs with my sunroof open (note: I felt particularly luxurious to have a sunroof!). I was making pitiful money at Disney and was lucky my car didn’t cause me more trouble than it did, because I couldn’t afford much. But Disney is where I wanted to work and Orlando is where I wanted to be and I could feel good things were coming. So, I just held on, like the girls in Wilson Phillips told me to do.

Elton John was another story altogether.

Back home, in late 1988 and all of 1989, I worked at the Disney Store at the Burlington Mall. Every night after we closed the huge glass doors at the entrance, the cashiers counted their money and the rest of us restocked, replenished, and cleaned everything. It took at least an hour, sometimes longer.

To help keep us awake, our manager brought in music. One of the tapes was Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. We played that album over and over again every night for an entire month. I liked Elton John, but after that experience, I became a fan and decided I had to have a copy for my very own. Bennie and the Jets brings me right back to my 18 and 19-year old self rearranging the huge Plush Mountain of stuffed animals at the back of the Disney store.

And finally, there’s James Taylor. No finer, smoother voice in American music, right? I realize this particular Greatest Hits album (volume 1) came out when I was really young, but it’s still amazing. A quick Google search told me it’s his biggest selling album of his career. No surprise there. This is one album I can honestly say I know by heart. I played this tape constantly in my car to and from work and when one day the tape broke (omg) I ran out and bought a new one the exact same day at a rather seedy record shop on Orange Blossom Trail. (Don’t let the name fool you. Parts of OBT are icky.)

The first time I really listened to the lyrics of Sweet Baby James I immediately thought of my son. His eyes are a mix of deep greens and blues, as the lyrics go.

My eyes don’t have any blue in them; they’re more of a green/brown mix to create a hazel. The green intensifies depending on what I wear and what kind of makeup I might have on my eyes at the time.

My two girls both have green eyes, too. Just like my son. But it’s cool to me that all three of them have different hues. My older daughter has more of the hazel green like me. My younger daughter goes back and forth between a green and an aquamarine blue. I was curious about where my son’s eyes fall in the mix, so I texted him today asking if he would precisely describe the color of his eyes. (Not a strange request at all, right?)

He returned my text quickly and said his eyes are more of a blue/gray/green, but they change often depending on a number of external and internal factors.

I love that the four of us – my son, my daughters and me – all share this common bond.

So I take back what I said earlier. I guess I can pick my favorite James Taylor song.

Don’t Try So Hard

I’ve always loved Amy Grant’s music. And this song features James Taylor – one of my all-time favorite singer songwriters. I love the message of this song – “Don’t Try So Hard.” A good message for all of us who put a little too much pressure on ourselves. Good stuff…

“YOU’RE LOVELY EVEN WITH YOUR SCARS…DON’T TRY SO HARD….”

Humbled and Overwhelmed

Those are the two emotions I’m feeling right now. And if there’s one thing I’m still learning how to do, it’s to really feel my emotions.

Last week, I came out – in a manner of speaking – about the fact that I had a child at 18 and placed him in an open adoption. It’s now 25 years later and in all honesty I can say it has been the most loving, open and honest experience. But being pregnant during my senior year in high school, and then getting whisked off to the west coast to give birth and hopefully get things “back to normal” left emotional scars. I vigorously pursued my career and achieved nearly every goal I had set for myself, professionally. I dated infrequently mostly out of low self-esteem and quite frankly, in an age where casual sexual partners was the norm, out of fear of getting pregnant again. When I did eventually marry 14 years ago, my husband fully and completely accepted my birthson, his family, and the birthfather’s family as if it was completely normal.

I lived in denial for more than two decades. Oh sure, I knew the truth and my husband knew the truth. But no one outside of my immediate family and a select few close friends knew my secret. The residual stuff left over from years of hiding, of secrets, of shame and of guilt was completely overwhelming at times.

But today I’m feeling overwhelmed in a better way. Through a random encounter on Twitter (note: nothing in life is random), I became part of a TV documentary about motherhood and specifically about adoption. When I realized the promos had started airing on the Oxygen Network, I knew this was my chance to come clean. Now granted, Facebook is many things. But an open forum for an honest dialogue about major life experiences it is not. Still, I’m connected to most of the people in my life on this particular social network. And so, with a bit of trepidation, I posted the following:

I’m nervous and kind of excited to post this.
In 1988, I had a baby.
I wasn’t ready to be a parent, so I placed him in an open adoption.
Now, 25 years later, I can honestly say it’s been the most wonderful, loving and entirely open relationship since day one – and I attribute that to his parents, who have raised him to be an amazing young man! I was very humbled to be asked to participate in a documentary that will appear on the Oxygen Network on June 12 called “The Untold Stories of Motherhood.” Here’s a clip…

http://im-having-their-baby.oxygen.com/motherhood/

I hit send and bam – it was out there. At that point, I didn’t care what anyone thought. For the first time in 25 years, I DIDN’T CARE WHAT ANYONE THOUGHT. Perhaps that’s one of the good things about getting older. At 42 years old, I really don’t give a shit what people think. It took a long time for me to get to this point. The view is good from here.

Now that could very well be the end of this post. Except that it isn’t.

The response I received from friends in high school and my college years was overwhelming. Completely and utterly overwhelming. There was a time when my friends’ opinions really mattered to me, mostly from trying to fit in and be liked and be normal. But now, they mean something different. We all have life experiences that make us wiser and a bit more compassionate. I know I have and I like to think that my empathy for others is greater now than when I was younger. The comments I received from friends and acquaintances was like getting a big cyber-hug. And it felt really good.

There’s something to be said for being vulnerable, for finally letting go. And perhaps, for being brave.

And while I no longer need or seek anyone else’s approval,  it’s really humbling to know that friends and family have my back.

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