Around The World

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Around The World

Around the World

You may have heard of the popular poem entitled “Welcome to Holland,” by Emily Perl Kingsley.  “Welcome to Holland” cleverly compares what parents experience raising a disabled child to an unexpected switch in travel plans. They’ve planned, packed, and longed for one destination yet for reasons unexplained, end up in another.  The poem is meant to bring comfort and reveal that though these parents will be forced to embark on an “unwanted” journey, it isn’t a horrible one; it’s just different, maybe equally beautiful.  Venice may have gondolas has but Holland has windmills.  You get picture.

I have a deep appreciation for poetry (even the hokey stuff, just sayin’) and I absolutely worship the poetry created by songwriters.  Their ability to entertain and celebrate the human condition (and to wrap it all up in a catchy melody) fascinates me.  Ever notice how many songs there are about love?  I challenge you to take in a few tunes during your next commute and count the number of songs that aren’t about love (or any of its incarnations, i.e., sex, desire, loss).  Equally intriguing to me is the phenomena one experiences when hearing a song for the first time after listening to it for decades. 

As I enjoyed a runner’s high the other morning, the lyrics of my favorite Crosby, Stills, and Nash song “Southern Cross” piqued my interest in a way they never had before. I have admired and belted out “I have been arr-ow-wow-wownd the world” for thirty some-odd years, but today the classic stopped me in my tracks. 

I’ve always known the song to be about a man who braves the seas after a failed love affair, although I most often applied the chorus “think about how many times I have fallen, fallen” to my own immediate condition (and to answer your question, yes it has applied to running, ha!).  On this day, hearing vs. listening to “Southern Cross”’s lyrics, I had an epiphany.  Disclaimer:  I say SO WHAT if a couple of hippie songwriters, also “high” on life, helped me define my ideal “Holland.”

Like the sailor in “Southern Cross,” I too have been around the proverbial world, desperately seeking that “woman girl who knows love can endure.”  Autism is exhausting.  Between having to seek the best treatments (and not to mention a good night’s sleep), I must say I have been tested.  I’ve wondered what now?   I’ve also asked why me?  Isn’t love supposed to conquer all?

I’m almost ashamed to admit that sometimes the journey has been about me, the “truth I have been running from,” and the concern for my own “dyin’” dreams.  I have fallen.  Made countless mistakes.  And I do think about “how many times” I have done both, all of the time. Guilt is just another neat byproduct autism provides free of charge.

Adjusting to that “anchor tied” to me as well as my gift for “never fail[ing] to fail” has been the hardest.  I feel a very strong bond between my son and me, but my fear of letting him down is often too much to bear. Who’s going to make him better if I can’t?  

Music is salvation to the sailor of “Southern Cross.” It makes him forget his heartbreak and that realization is liberating.   My Southern Cross? It is my home with my beautiful Southern man and boys.  Together, they form my guiding light and are the brightest stars in my sky. They are my constants.  The pull of my Southern Cross knows of, and nurtures the “woman girl” in me who I once feared so elusive.  I have come to realize that the heartbreak of autism can’t touch me in my Southern Cross, because it’s where “the promise of a comin’ day” is more powerful than any setback the disorder attempts to throw at me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have “cheated and lied and tested” in an attempt to convince myself that my Southern Cross existed elsewhere- attempted escape from autism comes in many forms, but I have “survive[d] being bested.”  My Southern Cross, my humble home, is the place where “what heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten,” is our credo.  My husband and I never stop counting our blessings, autism or no autism. My home is where “larger voices [are] callin’,” and they want to play hide-and-seek and Legos.  

Now that I won’t be able to listen to Crosby, Stills, & Nash without tearing up, I must remind myself of one thing: “Southern Cross” truly is an uplifting song. Even faced with loss, the sailor cries “I have my ship and all her flags are a’ flyin’.” It is a beautiful brag! Armed with his gift for song, he is unbreakable.  As for me, I’m sailing for tomorrow, hoping “when you see [your] Southern Cross for the first time, you understand now why you came this way.”


Southern Cross

(Words & music by Stephen Stills, Richard Curtis and Michael Curtis)

Got out of town on a boat goin’ to Southern islands.
Sailing a reach before a followin’ sea.

She was makin’ for the trades on the outside,
And the downhill run to Papeete.

Off the wind on this heading lie the Marquesas.
We got eighty feet of’a waterline.
Nicely making way.

In a noisy bar in Avalon I tried to call you.
But on a midnight watch I realized
Why twice you ran away.

Think about how many times I have fallen
Spirits are using me larger voices callin’.
What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten.

I have been around the world,
Lookin’ for that woman/girl,
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will.

When you see the Southern Cross for the first time
You understand now why you came this way.
‘Cause the truth you might be runnin’ from is so small.
But it’s as big as the promise – The promise of a comin’ day.

So I’m sailing for tomorrow – My dreams are a dyin’.
And my love is an anchor tied to you – Tied with a silver chain.

I have my ship and all her flags are a flyin’
She is all that I have left – And music is her name.

Think about how many times I have fallen
Spirits are using me larger voices callin’.
What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten.

I have been around the world,
lookin’ for that woman/girl
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will.
And you know it will.

So we cheated and we lied and we tested.
And we never failed to fail; it was the easiest thing to do.
You will survive being bested.
Somebody fine will come along make me forget about loving you
in the Southern Cross.

By |2014-03-31T17:33:05+00:00March 31st, 2014|Blog, Parenting|0 Comments

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