From upstairs I could hear a conversation coming from the kitchen.


John’s voice.


I wondered who he was talking to.


And then I heard Joey answer his dad. I thought, “Joey’s here!?” and so I yelled out.




My voice woke me


and then the realization it was just a dream.


Joey’s not here.


I started to weep.


And then, curiously, my mind went to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” performance at the Grammys last week. I could still hear her brave and vulnerable, fragile and strong voice in the haunting melody. I had been caught off guard, that night when it made me bawl. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why it hit me so hard, other than it was just so beautiful and she was surrounded by so much love and respect. And, of course, because I’m always on the verge of tears anyway. Her voice sounded like sweet comfort.


The same thing had happened a little earlier with Tracy Chapman’s performance. In that case, I thought it was because we had that CD back in the late 80’s. John and I had played “Fast Car” over and over and over again in our little condo in the early days of our little family. It felt like a soundtrack to our beginning.


And so much has happened since.


I extracted myself from underneath the covers and grabbed my laptop. I wanted to read the lyrics to “Both Sides Now.” Maybe I could get to the bottom of why Joni Mitchell’s song made me ugly-cry.


So now I know why.


Both Sides Now

Song by Joni Mitchell

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
Looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and they snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way that you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
And you leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know love
Really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say, “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

Oh, but now old friends they’re acting strange
And they shake their heads and they tell me that I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

It’s life’s illusions that I recall
I really don’t know life
I really don’t know life at all