Once in awhile there are moments that change your life forever. One such moment happened for me when I was thirteen years old. I was in the front passenger seat of my mom’s little white Toyota and we were on the highway headed to my uncle’s house. A song came on the radio. “This is that song I was telling you about,” my mom exclaimed, “The one by those cute little boys.” She may have said more but I was no longer listening. I was instantly captivated by the pre-pubescent voice squeaking through the car’s crappy sound system. I didn’t know his name or even what he looked like, but I knew that I loved him. An immediate and all consuming obsession, the kind I think you’re only capable of having when you’re a thirteen year old girl, had begun. The song was “Mmmbop” by Hanson. (Go ahead, laugh if you must.) I would never be the same.
Another life changing moment happened for me on the morning of July 10, 2009. I was 25 years old and my husband and I had been trying to conceive for a few months. So far we’d had no luck and I was losing patience with the whole process, as I tend to do. When I want something, I want it right at that moment; otherwise I get bored. That night I was going out to dinner to celebrate my best friend’s birthday and I wanted to drink. I decided to take a pregnancy test just to be on the safe side, even though my period wasn’t technically late yet. I was sure that it would come back negative, just like the tests from the past few months, and that I would get the green light to get sloppy that evening. Instead the display on the digital test said “pregnant.” An onslaught of emotions washed over me. I remember feeling surprised because I really didn’t expect the positive result, guilty because I’d had several drinks the weekend before to celebrate our nation’s independence, excited because I’d finally achieved my goal, and a little numb because this was a lot to process all at once. Things would never be the same.
How do these two moments relate, you ask? No, Emmalee is not Taylor Hanson’s secret love child. Though wouldn’t that make the story interesting! But no. The two began to mesh sometime after the sixteenth week of pregnancy, when little Emmalee began to be aware of noises outside of the womb. Over the years my obsession for Hanson waned a bit, but the love has always been there. When they release a new CD I am all over it and listen to it repetitively for months. While pregnant with Emmalee, Hanson happened to release a five song EP which was a preview to the new album they would release the following summer. I listened to these songs with such frequency that they seem to have affected the wiring in Emmalee’s tiny little still-developing brain.
I didn’t realize the impact until several months after she was born. It probably didn’t help anything that we continued to listen to Hanson every time we were in the car. Still, I was taken by surprise the first time Emmalee stopped crying and appeared to be completely soothed by my favorite song from that previously mentioned EP, a song called “These Walls.” When she began protesting when the song ended, whining and crying until I started the track over, I thought it was adorable. When we were in the car with my husband (who is not a Hanson fan) and had to put the song on to calm her, I thought it was hilarious. Now though, four or five months after this began, her preference for one particular song is a little less endearing. I try to broaden her Hanson horizons by letting her listen to other songs. If I tell her that we’re still listening to Hanson she seems to accept it, but if she is tired or cranky forget it, it is “Walls” or wailing.
The moral of the story, then, is this: your child will find a way to make you despise even the things you love the most. I’m kidding, of course. Luckily my love for Hanson is such a deeply rooted part of who I am I don’t think anything could ever change it, and I do enjoy being able to share this passion of mine with my daughter. There are moments that change your life forever. Hopefully, they change it for the better, as I feel mine (mostly) have. But if you should ever happen to find yourself pregnant, think carefully about the music you listen to and be sure that you can handle listening to said music on repeat for an indeterminate number of months. It could happen to you.