Wonderwall

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Published on Sweetney}

When I made my list of the best 25 songs of the last 25 years a few weeks back, I burned, just for my own private listening enjoyment, a mix CD comprised of those select tracks. Since that time its been on heavy rotation during the 20 minute commute to and from M’s camp each weekday — I’m lucky enough to have a kid who’s tolerant of Mommy’s need to CRANK THAT SHIT UP — and in that time she’s absorbed all the songs and picked her favorites, notable among them the well-aged Oasis tune Wonderwall. It’s a song that for all its obvious magnetism and hookiness I’ve never fully understood. I mean, what’s a Wonderwall, anyway? And what, if anything, does it mean for a person to be that to someone else? Still, questions of signification and metaphor aside, each time the spare guitar strum of that track begins to play on our car stereo I see the joyful recognition wash over M’s face in the rear view mirror, and when the lesser of the brothers Gallagher begins to sing she does too, word for word.
. . . . .

On Sunday, we finally told her about the split.

For those of you who’ve never gone through a separation (and seriously, here’s hoping none of you ever have to), the awful, soul-rending anticipation of having to break this news to your child — the tiny, blameless person who you’ve made it your life’s mission to protect and shield from all hurts and pains — is psychological torture of a magnitude it’s difficult to fully wrap your head around. Over the course of the past few weeks I’ve said to friends, relative to the crushing dread I felt about having to do this, that I now understand why people stay together for the sake of the kids (or, rather, tell themselves that’s what they’re doing — it’s probably closer to the truth to say they’re staying together for the sake of not having to deal with the anguish and guilt of having to tell the kids). It is the worst thing I could ever imagine having to do, and believe me, I can imagine having to do a lot of pretty awful things. Like having to attend a Celine Dion concert, or watch the complete filmography of Paris Hilton, for example. YES, THIS IS EVEN WORSE THAN THAT.

So Jamie came over Sunday morning with the idea in mind that this was the day. No way out but to barrel through it together, however ineptly, and hope to god we don’t have to look back on this as The Day We Shattered Our Daughter’s Identity, Crushed Her Spirit, And Destroyed Her Self Esteem For All Time. I think some of my generalized terror about this event can be traced back to having known a few very seriously broken human beings who pointed to the cataclysm of their parents breaking up when they were a kid as the hot molten core of their volcanic screwed-up-ness. And when I say “human beings” you should read “people I dated.” This is definitely NOT how I want my daughter to turn out.

We sat down on the couch, all three of us together, Jamie on one side of her and me on the other. I wrapped my arms around her, squeezed her tight against my body, and started speaking.

And every word was stumbling, and my brain stuttered and sputtered, and I thought I’m failing, miserably… I can’t do this. But I did. And when I said the words, those life-decimating words I’d avoided saying for so long, her head shook lightly, No.

So I held her tighter, and kept talking. And she was so quiet, not saying a word, that my brain started filling in her silence with fear, with my own fear, with my fear that I’d just done something horrible to this person I love more than anything in the world, something that I could never take back, and how would I ever be able to live with that?

When I stopped speaking I felt like I’d run a marathon, and I could hear my heartbeat thumping in my ears.

Finally, she said, “And you won’t argue anymore?”

I looked at Jamie, and he looked at me. “No, we won’t argue anymore.”

Her eyes lit up. “So you’ll both be happy now?” she chirped.

And this is about when I started crying. Because I am so ridiculously, obscenely blessed, no other response was possible.
. . . . .

As we wound through the ragged streets of Baltimore this morning on our usual trek to camp, she asked again to hear Wonderwall. “I’m going to sing it,” she announced, as if willing my attention to bend itself to her 1st grade vocal stylings. And as she sang I listened — her high trill an awkward mate for the track’s somewhat grating, nasal vocals — and tried to follow a thread of coherence through the lyrics, to make some kind of sense of what Noel Gallagher was trying to say, and what in all of that my daughter connected so deeply with.

Then, just as the song rose to its swelling chorus, my throat involuntarily tightened, and I felt tears start to gather in the corners of my eyes. I sang along, too:

And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
But I don’t know how

Because maybe
You’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all
You’re my wonderwall

And suddenly, just at that moment, I understood exactly what the better Gallagher brother meant.

Editor’s Pick by Amy Turn Sharp of Doobleh-Vay: Tracey Gaughran-Perez is an online maven.  A force of awesome nature. I love this post , her blog, and all of her writing.  She has some wicked cool sites like MamaPop, and We Covet. Visit her today , follow her on twitter, and subscribe here.

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2 Comments to “Wonderwall”

  1. Ailen says:

    I loved this post. And I love Wonderwall…it’s one of the few songs I know all the lyrics to, and sing it to my 4 mos old all the time. You walk around thinking that you have to shield and protect your kid from everything, and it turns out the THEY’RE the ones that save US in the end.

  2. Oh hot burning tears.

    And as an aside- I have been to a Celine Dion concert (to accompany my Mom of course) and it wasn’t all that bad actually. :)

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