Swift’s new song strikes familial chord
Sunday night I decided to scan iTunes top songs list. Normally I don’t bother since it’s almost always dominated by Katy Perry’s mindless auto-tuned screeching. I was surprised to see Taylor Swift’s latest hit — the upbeat and sassy breakup jam “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” — bumped from its spot at number one by another new single of hers titled “Ronan.”
Of course I figured Ronan was just another unrequited high school crush or ex-boyfriend. That’s the general premise of all her songs, right? (I should know. — I shamelessly eat them up.) But when I played the preview, I heard a haunting, low-key ballad about a lost child.
A quick Google search told me Swift debuted the song Sept. 7 on the Stand Up to Cancer telethon. She was inspired after reading a blog (RockstarRonan.com) belonging to a mother whose nearly four-year-old son died of neuroblastoma in 2011. The mother, Maya Thompson, is listed as a co-author, and all proceeds from the song go to cancer-related charities.
“I remember your bare feet down the hallway/I remember your little laugh/Race cars on the kitchen floor, plastic dinosaurs/I love you to the moon and back,” Swift sang.
Her lyrics painted a picture of a joyful home with toys scattered about and boundless love. I saw a small blue-eyed boy bouncing on his mother’s stomach in the morning, holding her hand as they crossed the street. Then an empty cold permeated the picture.
“Flowers pile up in the worst way/No one knows what to say about a beautiful boy who died/And it’s about to be Halloween/You could be anything you wanted if you were still here,” Swift went on, reminding me of all the years my brothers and I went trick-or-treating.
I reached for my cell phone, ready to call them. I wanted them to know that growing up together has been such a gift. I’ve had them my whole life — nineteen years, five times as long as Ronan’s family had him — but it will never be enough.
I would have called everyone I love if it hadn’t been 2 a.m.
“What if I’m standing in your closet trying to talk to you/What if I kept the hand-me-downs you won’t grow into/And what if I really thought some miracle would see us through/But what if the miracle was even getting one moment with you,” she closed softly.
Aren’t those the best songs? The ones that make you feel like you know the person they’re written about. The ones that really move you.
Kudos to Thompson for raising awareness and Swift for taking the time to help keep a little boy’s memory alive.
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