“My life, my soul,” she sings on another defining track, Little Star, a song specifically about her daughter. “You make my spirit whole … You breathe new life into my broken heart.”
Consistent with her past albums, the death of Madonna’s mother (she died when Madonna was five) continues to haunt the singer’s work. “And I smelt her burning flesh, her rotting bones, her decay,” Madonna cries on Mer Girl. “I ran and I ran, I’m still running today.”
Madonna wrote the track after a particularly spooky visit to a cemetery. The visit didn’t leave her fearful, she says, but rather with a deep sense of melancholy.
The insinuation is that Lourdes fills the huge void that has been in Madonna’s life since her mother’s death. If that is so, she isn’t saying.
“It all goes back to what I said about the greatest revelation I had. It is about realising everything that happens to you is not a bad thing.
“It’s a blessing, and you also learn the cold comfort of forgiveness. Forgiving yourself, forgiving other people, just trying to sort of tap into people’s humanity instead of judging.”
“I used to be an incredibly judgmental person. Meet somebody — snap, snap, write them off — or feel like I had them down. Now I try to figure out where they’re coming from, why they behave that way.”
“I hope I am sharing these aspects that I’ve learned. ‘That things are not what they seem and you have to look beneath the surface, look at the wonderment of life, a joy and happiness that I have not really tapped into before.”
It’s the baby, I tell her.
“It’s her,” she nods, “and my own growth as a human being. Maturity.”
Does Madonna have concerns about the kind of world Lourdes will grow up in?
“Not really. The best kind of education and protection I can give my daughter is just the whole idea of karma: everything you do comes back to you, and you pull in what you put out.
“All the bodyguards in the world aren’t going to protect her or I. All you can do is just be honest, have selfrespect and have respect for other human beings. Sometimes I sit and think: ‘Oh God, what’s the best school I can send her to?’ And then I think: ‘I went to a normal school and I turned out all right.'”
“I don’t think it’s about going to the best school or having the best this or the biggest that. It’s about where I’m at, it’s my evolutionary process and, at the moment, what I am instinctively sending her — the things that she picks up on — that’s the best education and the best protection I can give her.”
Without a hint of melancholy or sadness, Madonna says she wants to be the mother she never had. “I’m strict, and I’m doting,” she laughs, “and I’m not sure who’s going to be more confused — myself or her.
“Her father,” she says coolly, without mention of a name, “is much more into spoiling her. When she wants sweets and toys and whatever, he always gives in to her, whereas I’m like: ‘Set her down and explain to her that she’s already had sweets or toys and now is the time to do something else.'”
“But he indulges her so much. She’s daddy’s little girl.”
Madonna is not so happy about reports that cast her as a killjoy because she will not allow Lourdes to watch television until she is at least three years old.
“I don’t want TV to be her babysitter. She loves reading and she’s a very focused person, she’s very communicative. I attribute that to the fact she’s always interacting with people.
“So, the first three years of her life,” Madonna says dutifully, “she learns how to communicate with people better and really appreciate the beauty of books.”
Is a father figure important?
“Very,” Madonna replies. “And she has a father. I always work it out, even when I’m travelling, and he comes to visit her. I never want her to be away from her father too long. I think he’s a very important person in her life. She adores him. I think it’s important that she sees us as really good friends who respect each other.”
A stable relationship at this point in her life is welcome, but not a necessity. “A companion,” she told writer Sischy, “is a companion.”