Thursday, June 19, 2008

Musical Triggers

Music has always been a big emotional trigger for me. Certain songs can instantly transport me back to a time or a place in my life, to the point that I re-experience actual sensations. I cannot listen to U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" without feeling cold and damp (long story). Any song from Elton John's "Live In Australia" will make we want to curl up with a blanket and go to sleep, except for "I need you to Turn to" which just reduces me to tears. When I hear Meatloaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" I can close my eyes and see Patti and Paul acting out the chorus in our living room on MacDonell St. in a drunken stupor.

There are 2 songs that are adoption triggers for me. I've been listening to both of these since I was a little girl. As (bad) luck would have it today, both of them played on my Yahoo Music feed while I was at work this morning. I'm already having a rough week when it comes to the emotions surrounding my own adoption, so hearing these songs, nearly back to back, was almost enough to push me over the edge.

The first song is Bobby Vee singing "Take Good Care of My Baby".

As a little girl, maybe 7 or 8, I had no clue that this was a teenage love song about a boy who lost his "baby" to another boy. I thought it was about adoption, a first parent singing to the adoptive parents. And of course I fantasized that it was MY first parents expressing all these wonderful things for ME. And in my childhood attempt to understand adoption, this line really stuck with me: "Once upon a time that little girl was mine, If I'd been true, I know she'd never be with you". If only my first parents had done SOMETHING different I would still be with them. And that is the paradox of adoption. What 7 year old wants to leave their parents, the only people they have known but at the same times wants to be with people they've never met, because that is who they are supposed to be with? This is a concept I still struggle with today, let alone what it did to me emotionally as a 7 year old.

Here are the lyrics, sing along!

My tears are fallin' 'cause you've taken her away
And though it really hurts me so
There's something that I've gotta say
Take good care of my baby

Please don't ever make her blue
Just tell her that you love her
Make sure you're thinking of her
In everything you say and do

Aww, take good care of my baby
Now don't you ever make her cry
Just let your love surround her
Paint a rainbow all around her
Don't let her see a cloudy sky

Once upon a time that little girl was mine
If I'd been true, I know she'd never be with you

So, take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me

Well, take good care of my baby
Be just as kind as you can be
And if you should discover
That you don't really love her
Just send my baby back home to me

Aww, take good care of my baby
Well, take good care of my baby

The second song really is about adoption. It's from the musical Annie and is called "Maybe".

Annie sings about the fantasies that adopted kids have about their first parents. This is the line that catches me each time: "Their one mistake was giving up me! " Ouch. Why did someone give me up? Why was I placed for adoption? What was wrong with me? My adult self understands all the nuances, social pressures and reasons for my adoption, but my 7 year old self certainly didn't. It is so easy for adoptees to fall into the trap of "I did something to cause this".

Maybe far away
Or maybe real nearby
He may be pouring her coffee
She may be straightening his tie.
Maybe in a house
All hidden by a hill
She's sitting playing piano,
He's sitting paying a bill!

Betcha they're young
Betcha they're smart
Bet they collect things
Like ashtrays, and art!
Betcha they're good --
(Why shouldn't they be?)
Their one mistake
Was giving up me!

So maybe now it's time,
And maybe when I wake
They'll be there calling me "Baby"...

Betcha he reads
Betcha she sews
Maybe she's made me
A closet of clothes!
Maybe they're strict
As straight as a line...
Don't really care
As long as they're mine!

So maybe now this prayer's
The last one of it's kind...
Won't you please come get your "Baby"


And that is where my adoption journey is stopped right now..... Maybe
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