I’ve been trying to decide which song I would blog about today because today is no ordinary day – it is my daughter’s 13th birthday. Thirteen years ago, the hospital made us take her home and we’ve been doing our best ever since then. There are a million songs that remind me of Anna, whether they are ones I sang to her as a baby or the ones we forced upon her (and the ones forced upon us) when she was a toddler or the ones we grew to love together on our many trips to the horse barn and back. Now that she’s a teenager, I’m enjoying her create her own musical taste, and influence mine in the process. I never would have dreamed that I would voluntarily listen to Taylor Swift, let alone buy tickets to her concert, but both of those are now things that I can say I have done. It’s so weird – the concert tickets I bought yesterday are for a concert NEXT OCTOBER. It is officially the longest time between the purchase of tickets and the actual show that I have ever seen.
Like I said, deciding on a song that was both me AND honored Anna’s birthday was kind of stumping me this year, especially after I used Cher’s “A Different Kind Of Love Song” last year. But then it came to me, because Anna is not the only thing in my life that has a birthday on November 15th, because on November 15th, 2005, my favorite Madonna album was born. Confessions on a Dance Floor knocked Erotica out of the top spot because of how effortless it was, which coming off the difficult American Life, was a breath of fresh air indeed. There isn’t a single dud on the album – a rarity among Madonna albums. And the song that we bonded over most was the song “Jump.”
Sadly, not a Van Halen cover, “Jump” will forever occupy a spot in my top 20 favorite Madonna songs. It’s kind of ridiculous to say, but “Jump” speaks very loudly to me and is a source of personal strength, especially when the road is not clear or I find myself fearful to take the next step. What Madonna says in the song is so true – there’s only so much you can learn in one place, I’m not afraid of what I’ll face, but I’m afraid to stay and most importantly, I can make it alone. I think it’s a common introvert problem, even though we value our alone time, we can still feel a little bit lonely. It’s hard for me to meet people, and compounded by the fact that it’s hard for anyone to find friends as an adult. That said, sometimes it seems like it’d be easier if there were more people on the road with us. But we can make it alone. Ultimately, we have to. And if we want more, we have to be ready to take risks and step outside our comfort zone and basically, be ready to jump.
I remember Anna riding in her car seat while I played this song – the CD still lives in our car – and she would try to jump every time Madonna sang “are you ready to jump?” even all buckled in. It was kinda nice being able to introduce my daughter to Madonna with an album that I did not have to censor all that much. She knew pretty much every song on there, although most of them were by alternate titles (for example “Sorry” was “I’ve Heard It All Before.”) One of my favorite memories is her doing the humming part on “Isaac” while I sang the Im Nin’alu, Im Nin’alu part.
A year and a half after the album came out, “Jump” had seared itself into my daughter’s young brain – so much so that when it came time to do something at her preschool talent show, she told us she wanted to do a dance routine to “Jump.” I was fortunate enough to have captured it for all time. And don’t worry – I asked her if I could post this before I did so. I’m sensitive to how she may have been embarrassed by it and in our ever connected world, I didn’t want to do it without her permission.
The video of Anna dancing to “Jump” is better than Madonna’s shitty video for it. Instead, I’ll post the live version from The Confessions Tour, which featured a gorgeous outro. For all that was great about “Jump”, it always seemed a little short. When they got around to releasing “Jump” as a single, one of the remixes was a good old-fashioned extended remix with this outro put on. It made a perfect song, just that much more perfect. And I’ll always think of my daughter when I hear it, no matter how old she gets.