Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ashley Shares a Song with Me

During the period when my daughter Ashley was first living in our house as an 8-year-old foster child, I often had the lyrics of a Sheryl Crow song in my head, but with a twist. In my version the word "man" became "mom," and the line came out as "Are you strong enough to be my mom?" In the early phase of things, when my daughter was in fact throwing punches in the air and showing me that she didn't care (as I struggled with depression and anxiety related to her placement with us), I wasn't sure if I was strong enough. But thankfully I found the strength within me and through the support of my husband and others.

Recently Ashley asked me to listen to a song with her. She described it as her favorite song, and then hit play. As I listened to the lyrics of the selected song, Kelly Clarkson's Dark Side, I was struck by the appropriateness of the message.

... will you stay
even if it hurts
even if i try to push you out
will you return?
and remind me who i really am
please remind me who i really am

Ashley is no longer in a place of needing to constantly test to see if I really am strong enough to be her mom, but I know a little piece of the need for reassurance remains. She wants to know that I won't ever give up on her, no matter what. That I will love her, no matter what. That I won't go away, no matter what.

How do I know that? Because I have that same need for reassurance. Just ask my husband.

Did Ashley share this song with me because she wanted to communicate something through the lyrics. Not necessarily. She just likes the song, as a lot of kids her age do. But I responded by telling her that I liked it because of the lyrics. I said I liked what Clarkson was saying because none of us are perfect and yet we all want to know that the people we care about will love us and stick with us anyway.

If you are parenting a wounded child, if you love someone who was once a wounded child, or if your own internal wounded child still cries out to be heard, you too may find these lyrics apt.

4 comments:

  1. I think that this song is appropriate for a lot of adopted children, especially those who have no relationship with their birth parents for whatever reason. I think that testing has been proven to come naturally in those situations because they feel like their birth parents didn't want them so why should their adoptive parents? (BTW, I like the song too.)

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  2. Thanks for sharing the song. My sons (both adopted) are a little young (3 and 8) for Kelly Clarkson lyrics but they get the same message in one of their favourite bedtime story books: "No matter what" by Debi Gliori. Just recently the 8 year old has become obsessed with the Avengers and now I get asked: "If I turned into Hulk, would you still love me?" It's asked with a smile because he knows the answer: 'I will always love you. No matter what."

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  3. I too use music to express the way I'm feeling. My son really struggled in school and would often ask my to listen to his new favorite song. Almost every time there was a hidden message in the lyrics. After listening to them I immediately go and upload it. Now every time I listen to them I think of the wonderful messages my son was relaying when he just couldn't find the words himself. Great blog as usual

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  4. I'm strong enough to be your husband.

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