My Life In… Song (part 2)

Sundays are heaven at my house, because my husband is awesome, and I am a heathen.

During the week, M gets up at 7 with G and I get a blessed hour (sometimes more) of sleep to myself in bed, all alone. This is what he offered to do since he’s not up with G for feeding or diapering during the night. I’m a huge fan of the arrangement. It often means I’m already up with G for an hour before M takes him (especially with the recent time change), but that’s just fine.

Saturdays are a bit different. M would like to sleep until at least 8 if possible, and I’d be happy for him to get that extra bit, too, so G and I spend a little bit more time together than usual. And G, at 7 on the dot, waits expectantly for M’s alarm to go off because I really think he enjoys his “daddy time”. I deploy all the distraction I can come up with while bleary-eyed to keep him from waking M early. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Sundays –Ok wait. Every time I write the word “sundays” on the iPad it autocorrects to “Sunday’s”… WTF? I thought the people at Apple were smarter than that, and I can’t believe that it’s more common to use the s in that context to connote possession instead of plural. Sorry, needed that rant, let’s try this again.

Sunday-I’m-going-to-put-an-s-here-without-an-apostrophe-and-you’re-going-to-like-it-iBeeyotch-s are similar to Saturdays except that they are WAY cooler, because on Sundays M takes G to church. Yeah, that’s right, mom gets the house to herself for a little over an ENTIRE HOUR.

Um, that’s great, Venus. We’re happy your domestic life is so peachy. But you promised us music, where’s the music already?

I think I may have mentioned before that may parents are divorced. They split before I was a year old. Largely due to the fact that my mom had a psychotic break triggered by PPD, and my dad was away on a Navy deployment and wasn’t there to stop her from leaving him with only a duffel –taking me with her across the country.

Cue years of acrimony.

My mother’s psychosis took a religious turn. Now, before I have the chance to offend anyone… I am NOT equating religion with psychosis. I know plenty of religious people (including my husband) who are completely sane. But my mom really was mentally ill, and she married Jesus and became a fanatic. She became mentally and physically abusive with God as her witness and excuse.

To this day, I maintain that her actions in this vein, when I was very young, stole my ability to have faith in God. More on that another time, it could be its own book.

My father’s reaction was to become violently atheist. He didn’t grow up in a religious household anyway, but I don’t think he’d even thought about it much before mom went nuts.

He adopted a theme song. And he bequeathed it to me.

Come out Virginia, don’t let me wait
you Catholic girls start much too late.

If you’re a Billy Joel fan, like me or my Dad, you already know the song, and maybe you did before I mentioned the lyrics. If you’re not one of those people, this is “Only the Good Die Young”. It’s about a young man trying to tempt a young Catholic girl to date him, against her protective parents’ wishes and her own doubts.

When I was little (we’re talking two or three here) I had no idea what those words meant. I only knew that my dad LOVED this song, and since I worshipped him as being the saner parent in my life, I did too. We had so much fun singing it.

Over time I got the picture that it had something to do with Mom, even though she wasn’t Catholic, and lord knows he didn’t want to date her any more. For him I think it was all about flipping the bird to her, convention, established religion, and whoever else he had issues with.

I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints,
sinners are much more fun.
Darling only the good die young.

Or perhaps he was trying to keep me from becoming a “Virginia”, or, at the very least, like Mom. It’s hard to say, and I’ve never asked him.

I got out of my Mom’s house and away from the abuse when I was ten. By that time I was deeply anti-religious, and I flew my flag high and proudly told people what my theme song was.

I was a good kid, I didn’t actually sin (in the major sense) a whole lot. The song for me wasn’t about being bad. It was my badge of survivorship, of my still present (but slowly eroding) hero worship of my dad who I now lived with, and of my own true love of Billy Joel and a song that has a great beat and a really good hook.

As time went on I learned, thank goodness, that religion itself isn’t a horrible thing. That some people have faith and *aren’t* hypocrites or crazy people. I began to come down off the atheist ladder and eventually found myself at the more reasonable level of Agnosticism. I think of it like an old-time department store where various religions are all on different floors, and while in the elevator the wares on the floors are announced: Fourth floor: Protestant faiths… Fifth floor: Universalist Unitarians, Bahai… Sixth floor: Agnostics….

I am now happily married to a Catholic, we got married in the church. My little boy goes to church (and I do sometimes as well) because I want him to have the opportunity to have faith, in a safe loving environment. I won’t ever lie to him about what I believe, or don’t believe, and neither will his father.

I don’t often sing that song any more. I lost it as a theme song some time ago. I still like it, though. Despite everything else that has occurred, it’s still a Billy Joel song with a great beat, and a really good hook. But it has baggage now… I will never be able to sing it like I did when I was three and my Daddy, the light of my life, shared his music with me.

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5 Comments on “My Life In… Song (part 2)”

  1. Lance Says:

    Love Billy Joel….wrote a post about him exactly a year ago….

    I voted for your life in song, glad I got what I wanted. Perfect. I like your whimsy and funny.

    Reply

    • Venus Says:

      Thanks Lance. πŸ™‚ I thought you might be a Billy Joel fan! There are definitely some parts of his career that I like less than others. Generally I find myself gravitating most to The Stranger (the entire album, not just the song). What’s your fave?

      Reply

  2. Lance Says:

    His catalog from Piano Man to the Nylon Curtain album in 1982 (my first concert) is solid. I like Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, Piano Man, NY State of Mind, My Life, Captain Jack and Allentown.

    Great songwriter

    Reply

  3. Pamela D Hart Says:

    Found you via All Fooked up!

    Don’t you just hate baggage? The only consolation is we all have it!

    Some people say that we’re one tragedy away from believing in God, or some such and such. It was actually “tragedy” which took me down my path to being a non-believer (I’m an Atheist). I have respect for those who do believe, though and don’t push my “non” belief on anyone. We each need to do what we have to in navigating our way through life.

    I like that Billy Joel song, too, although it didn’t have any significance for me. It has a great beat…makes me want to dance! πŸ˜‰

    Reply

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