Which Whitney songs are the soundtrack to your life?

Whitney Houston’s songs seem inexplicably barnacled to specific memories from my childhood…

I wanna dance with somebody…

I’m 14, listening to my brand new hi-tech (then) Sony walkman in 1988, in a Japanese high-school dormitory in Shizuoka, at an International Youth Music Festival, flirting with the cutest Danish boy you would ever see… thinking ‘I wanna dance with him!’ Specifically.  (Unlikely, given was too scared to talk to boys.)

Didn’t we almost have it all?

Fifteen.  Hopelessly besotted with the lead trumpet player in the school orchestra.  Oh. My. Gosh. Had reason to believe he was besotted back, but not besotted enough to leave his six-foot tall, bombshell girlfriend.  Would play this on continuous loop after rehearsals, lying on my bed, staring at Kirk Cameron posters to cheer myself up.

Run to you and I will always love you…

Year 12.  Night before final maths exam.  (Maths: something I wanted to run away from and will always hate.)  Lying in bed wrestling algebraic formulas with The Bodyguard playing on TV in the other room.  A freak storm hits and a eucalyptus tree crashes onto the roof above my bedroom.  Shatters already shattered nerves.

I’m every woman…

2nd-year uni.  Meant to be studying.  Watching Oprah.

I’m every woman…

3rd-year-uni.  Meant to be studying.  Watching Oprah.

Just introducing my kids to Ms Houston right now:

Hannah (13): ‘This is SO LOUD. I can hear it in my bedroom through two walls!  I’d say something about it but I don’t want to speak ill of the dead!’

Sophie (11): ‘Who even is this!  She’s AWESOME!’

Sebastian (15 months): ‘Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!’ (in Whitney’s defence, Seb had inadvertently turned the volume to max before I switched it on, and was standing beside the speaker when it burst into I’m your baby tonight… a song that, incidentally, reminds me of learning to drive…)

So, Whitney – thanks for injecting your voice into some of the key moments in my life.  After today, So emotional, will forever represent my daughter trying to convince me to let her quit ballet lessons after seven years, a few months off finally reaching pointe shoes…  And my kids and husband (and possibly the dog, who can’t even protest because he’s wearing an anti-bark spray collar) will be forever traumatised by my belting out a dazzling vocal array of your greatest hits, as a mark of respect.

Yes. There were tears.  (Theirs.)

Emma Grey is the author of Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum (Lothian, 2005) and director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss.  She regularly writes on motherhood, work and relationships on her blog, you can find that here here.