It was probably late last fall when the song really caught my attention. Before Bean was even born. I was driving to an outlet mall to find some outfits for the baby, and possibly something coordinating that the two girls could wear for Bean’s newborn photos. I was driving home and popped in my Taylor Swift Fearless CD. A CD that I’ve listened to hundreds of times, especially the beginning songs because I like Love Story, White Horse and You Belong with Me. But it was towards the end of the CD, the second to last song, actually, when I paused. I hadn’t really listened to the lyrics of this song before, and as I did, driving 75 mph down the highway, I started crying. Because it was a song Taylor wrote for her mom, about all of the best days she’d had with her.
So I’ve got a little crush on Taylor Swift. I know that I’m a little out of her (ahem) target demographic, but I just REALLY love her. And yes, I am well aware that her live performances are sometimes a little … out of tune, but I don’t care. Plus they’ve gotten much better! And you can’t deny the girl has honest-to-God talent. Anyone who can not only write the lyrics, compose the music, sing the songs, AND play an instrument is beyond talented to me.
I think one of the reasons I love Taylor so much is that her music is so much about love, and it’s so relatable. As an added bonus, I never have to turn her music off when I’m listening in front of the kids. (I’ve recently started realizing that I need to censor the music and radio stations I listen to because Monkey picks up on everything.)
Not to mention that I think she’s handled her success INCREDIBLY well, considering she was only 16 years old when she released her self-titled album in 2006 with the single Tim McGraw, that got mine and everyone else’s attention. In fact, both of those albums sold a combined four million copies! Which made her the best-selling musician of the year in the U.S. in 2008. And yeah, that was when she was 18 years old.
So not only do I have tremendous respect for her talent, but also for the fact that she hasn’t turned into Lindsay Lohan (shudder), or Britney Spears (yikes). Two girls who were talented and incredibly young — a combination that did not serve them well.
In a culture where Taylor so easily could have been swayed by instant fame, success and accolades, she has remained a role model. And I have a sneaking suspicion that at least one contributing factor was that she had a stable upbringing with two parents who were more concerned about imparting values and morals than they were about fame.
In our era of pushy stage moms (a la Dina Lohan and Lynne Spears) who seem to seek fame and success at almost any cost for their kids, it appears that Taylor’s parents kept her grounded.
Obviously I don’t know that for sure, but it’s what I’ve observed in reading and watching interviews.
(And in case you’re wondering, I’m not hating on Lindsay and Britney. I sincerely hope that Lindsay gets her life back on track and receives the help she needs, and I hope that Britney continues in her positive direction.)
And that brings me back to my original point. She wrote a song. About her mom. And how meaningful that relationship is to her. And that’s what got me crying. Her song is like a parenting dream come true — she’s describing simple days and moments she spent with her mom and saying it was “the best day.”
I thought about writing this post a year ago when the song first caught my attention. But I never did. And then a few weeks ago I turned on my iTunes while working in the kitchen and the song came on, and I just stood there crying. Again. I think this song is personally meaningful to me because it represents what I hope my girls will remember about me as a mom. About us as parents. And how I hope we’ll parent them.
Primarily that we taught them morals and values; that we didn’t give in so that they would “like” us and we would be the “popular” parents, but that we were firm about decisions that were in their best interest; that we supported them through anything and everything; that they knew they could always count on us. That they know how much we love them.
And that they grow up knowing that they are our whole world and that we would do anything for them, and that we are treasuring each day. And I hope their best days with us aren’t just the really, really big exciting days, like the going to see Sesame Street Live! days (which Monkey doesn’t even know about yet), but also the ordinary, had a bad day at school, days.
Yes, in case you haven’t gathered, I am an emotional, sappy person who just about drowns in my own tears and floats away during movies. In fact, I really want to go see the new Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel movie, Life as We Know It about two people who are asked to raise their friends’ baby after they die. OMG. That is my worst nightmare and I don’t even know if I can bring myself to see it. It’s only gotten worse since I had kids. Ironically I get it from my dad, not my mom. 😉
And just in case you thought this post couldn’t get much sappier, check this out. Taylor gives a cut by cut account of how she came to write each song on her Fearless album. This is what she has to say about The Best Day:
I wrote this song on the road and didn’t tell my mom about it. I decided that I was going to keep it a secret and give it to her as a surprise for Christmas. I wrote it in the summer and then recorded it secretly with the band in the studio. After it was done, I synched the song up to all these home videos of her, and my family.
She didn’t even realize it was me singing until halfway through the song! She didn’t have any idea that I could possibly write and record a song without her knowing about it. When she finally got it, she just started bawling her eyes out.
Insert hysterical bawling here. She created a video montage of home movies with her and her mom and used the song she wrote as the track??? OMG. What mom WOULDN’T start bawling!?
Lucky for us, here’s the official video, complete with the photo montage. Yes, I cried.
Here are the lyrics:
The Best Day (Taylor Swift)
I’m five years old, it’s getting cold, I’ve got my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you, I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides, look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home
I don’t know why all the trees change in the fall
But I know you’re not scared of anything at all
Don’t know if Snow White’s house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today
I’m thirteen now and don’t know how my friends could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop ’til I’ve forgotten all their names
I don’t know who I’m gonna talk to now at school
But I know I’m laughing on the car ride home with you
Don’t know how long it’s gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today
I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother, inside and out, he’s better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
And I had the best days with you
There is a video I found from back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you’re talking to me
It’s the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
And Daddy’s smart and you’re the prettiest lady in the whole wide world
And now I know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn’t know if you knew, so I’m takin’ this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today
And in a coincidence, we went to the pumpkin farm two weekends ago, and guess who fell asleep in the car? And guess who’s been telling everyone about the leaves changing colors and falling off the trees (but obviously doesn’t know why yet)? Monkey. Because I told her that.
What do you hope your kids will remember as their “best day.” How do you hope to parent? What’s the best day you remember as a kid?