Songs are soundtracks to moments and seasons of my life. I have been moved by music since I was young. For my 13th birthday, my parents bought me a boom box. It was the 90s and it was popular then. I still remember promising my dad that I’d be careful when choosing what music to listen to. He didn’t ask me to do that, but the gift meant a lot and I wanted him to know I could be trusted.
I couldn’t wait to purchase my first album. I thought I’d choose music from the 50s and 60s since thanks to my dad’s love of oldies music, I grew up listening to songs from those decades on long road trips or even when we did errands. But then I saw Celion Dion’s Falling Into You album. I don’t remember if I even knew who she was. I had no idea she was a Canadian artist from the French province of Quebec. All I know is that I was drawn to the girl in blue jeans, white top and short dyed red hair. I inserted that CD into my boom box, sat on my bed and read the lyrics in the jacket as I listened to every song. The music captivated me. Her voice blew me away.
A tradition had begun.
As a teenager, while many girls my age saved money to buy clothes, I bought CDs. I would read the jacket of each one from front to back, like a book. I would sing along until I knew the lyrics by heart. I cared about who each artist thanked, and why. Like so many, I absorbed those songs and they became a part of my youth. They expressed the feelings I had and the experiences I hoped to have one day.
I may not listen to Celine Dion’s music like I used to. But last summer, as my friend Andrea and I were driving home from a fun day in Toronto, we didn’t listen to the radio. With utter delight written on our faces, we sang our hearts out to the tracks on Falling Into You. The car filled with each nostalgic note, and the lyrics spilled out effortlessly as if it were just yesterday that I was sitting on my bed, CD shiny and fresh from its packaging, melodies filling the corners of my room and pure joy taking root in the depths of my heart.