In 2008 Taylor Swift released her second album, “Fearless”. My daughter was 8 years old and already a HUGE Taylor fan. So was I. Maddie & I have never missed a Taylor Swift concert tour. Im ok to admit I love her. I love each album she makes more than the previous. I am a music lover and from Eminem to James Taylor to Boston to Taylor Swift I love all music. There was a song on that album that Maddie and I talked about. It’s called “Fifteen”. If you are a Mom, of a girl, you know it.

I remember at the time having the talk with her about sex and boys and love and decisions and high school. She’s always been very mature and she asked a lot of questions about the song. And about the decisions I made at 15. I’ve pretty much told my kids everything. We’ve always talked openly about sex and drugs and decisions and the things I did in the past. I was far from perfect. Still am. And I don’t expect or want my kids to be. And I don’t have the most conventional beliefs like some parents. I’m not the parent that says “NO SEX UNTIL MARRIAGE”. I’m not the parent who says “YOU’D BETTER NEVER EVER DO DRUGS”. I’m not the parent that thinks her kid will never take a sip of alcohol or go to a party or try to smoke a cigarette or make some seriously stupid decisions. Im just not.

And that may not be the way Im “SUPPOSED” to do it but I don’t care. I stopped caring what other parents thought a long time ago. I have good kids. And a real idea of what life is and throws at you. Perhaps brain rot and autoimmune diseases and my Dad’s early death jaded me….or maybe it made me face reality and know that not all people are blessed with a “charmed life” full of no loss and no hurt and no bad stuff. My kids are too smart and too in tune to what is happening to think life is perfect all of the time. Its just not an option for us. So we are REAL. It’s funny…when she asked if I ever did anything I regretted I could think of a few small things I did to hurt other people’s feelings…that makes me sad. I wish I could take back every time I did not take the high road. I wish I could go back and be nicer. But I have absolutely NO regrets about anything I’ve ever done. EVER. I am who I am because of those experiences.

And now she will be 15 years old in 6 weeks. Holy Shit! When I listened to the song I don’t think I thought of her being 15 one day. I don’t think I pictured HER in that scenario. And when It becomes a reality you freak out and don’t want your own kid to get hurt. So we talk about broken hearts. Because really…that’s what the song is about. It’s funny you’d think at 42 you would have escaped the whole “broken heart” thing. But you don’t. My heart breaks when my kids get hurt. My heart breaks when I watch brain rot progressing. My heart breaks for friends who are going through horrible things. And my heart breaks when friends hurt me…or turn out not to be the friend I thought they were.

So when she asks if getting older prevents heart break I have to be honest and say “no”. I was thinking about the real shape of the human heart in comparison to the sweet symbol we use for the heart in everyday life. When drawn on paper its a pretty, symmetrical, solid, flawless form of what looks like two opposite angel wings merging. Its easy to draw for Valentine’s Day and its easy to color in smoothly with a red crayon. The human heart….quite different. Many chambers and arteries and blood and pumping and moving and beating and detailed and intricate and not smooth and not perfect. And sometimes it breaks.

I wish I could paint her heart with symmetry and no flaws and complete. But the thing is…if you get to the end of your life and your heart looks seamless and pretty and solid and unbroken…you can bet you saved yourself a LOT of pain and sadness and tears. And you can bet you never felt love. And THAT is sad. I’ll take the cracks and holes and tattered up taped together heart I have at 42 over a perfect heart any day. It means I’ve lived. It means I’ve loved.

I hope she opens hers. Because as much as I’ll want to stop it—the pain and heart breaks and tears and joy and happiness and butterflies are all a part of life. And isn’t that beautiful.

~Taylor Swift “Fifteen”


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