My girls are huge Taylor Swift fans. A few years ago my husband brought home one of her CDs (the country one!) from a charity sale at work, and it’s been a big lovefest ever since. I was a bit reluctant at first—I’m a rock ‘n’ roll girl—but once my girls starting bopping around the kitchen to her music, I couldn’t resist joining in.
That CD was joined by others and, before long, Taylor Swift became the car music we could all agree on. At some point, I realized I knew all the words to all the songs and the CD would somehow be playing even when the kids weren’t there.
The adoration culminated in a most amazing Christmas gift to my girls and my nieces from my parents: tickets to see Taylor Swift in concert (or, as Avery would say, in real life!). She put on a great show, which appeased the hard-core concertgoer I once was, and we all left that night exhausted, half-deaf and hoarse from the screaming, and totally elated.
Even if her music isn’t necessarily my thing, I’ve always felt good about my kids’ adoration of her. Yes, she writes about her boyfriends and all that stuff they’re too young to really think about, but there’s a sincerity and innocence about her that I appreciate. Just yesterday, my girls were watching a behind-the-scenes show on YouTube on the making of her latest video and Taylor is talking about how much she screwed up in the dance parts and how hard it was and how much fun it was and how she was trying to show it’s OK to just go out and do your thing and be yourself. Dance like no one’s watching, right? That’s a message a mom can get behind. It might just be her public persona and I’m fine with that, but she comes across as this sweet, wide-eyed, goofy girl out there living her life, messing up, having fun, being kind and really appreciating her fans and this crazy turn her life took.
And she puts her mouth where her money is. I was especially heartened when I heard about the response she posted to a fan on Instagram earlier this month. The fan, named Hannah, was being bullied and Taylor wrote this very long, thoughtful, heartfelt comment to lend support, letting Hannah know what a bright light she was and how much Taylor enjoyed the photos and videos she posts, and that, well, haters gonna hate. You can read the whole thing here, but I especially loved her closing: “Every time someone picks on me, I’ll think of you in hopes that every time someone picks on you, you’ll think of me… and how we have this thread that connects us. Let them keep living in the darkness and we’ll keep waking up in the sunlight. Forever on your side, Taylor.”
I mean, how awesome is that? How life-changing for that girl and also for the millions of others who feel exactly like Hannah and get this confidence boost from someone they admire? Say what you want about her music, about her love life, about her dance moves. The world needs more people like Taylor Swift.
Follow along as Today’s Parent senior editor Tracy Chappell shares her refreshingly positive take on parenting her two young daughters. She’s been blogging her relatable experiences for our publication since 2005. Read more of her Tracy’s mama memoir posts and tweet her @T_Chappell.