Singing With My Son And Dancing With My Daughter

Dear Children,

This is a brief post from abba. Just a few words and thoughts while they strike me. The two of you are 10 and 6.5 years old. I remember these being your age better than you know. I turned 6.5 in 1975 and 10 in 1979. In many ways the world that I remember is so very different from the one that you live in. Sometimes I play the song below on a CD but not as often as I once thought that I might. Free to Be You and Me was big when I was a kid. I bought the disc before either one of you was born because I thought that one day I might play it for you.

It feels like a thousand years have passed since those days. Sometimes you look at old pictures of me and you smile. You like to tease me about being skinny with muscles and my short hair. Let me tell you for the millionth time, I had what they call a six pack. Those are the lines in my stomach and yes they were like grooves. You won’t want to know this but girls used to like to run their fingers over those lines. That last line is there in part for my own ego and to publicly shame myself. It is reminder that I need to push harder to get myself in better shape.

And my hair, well that was called a Flat Top. I started wearing it that way when I was 15 and didn’t stop until I was around 25 or 26. I would still wear it today if I could. I loved it. Initially I started wearing it because in high school I was a swimmer and it was advantageous to have less hair. Not to mention that I had a Jewfro. Look at the older pictures and you’ll see that kinky curly hair was unmanageable. Unlike you, little sweetheart who has long locks of black hair and curls that women die for. My hair didn’t grow like that.

Little mister, I know that it irritates you that your sister has my coloring and that yours is like mom’s. That is not a bad thing but when you are ten you want to look like dad, I know because I remember feeling the same way. Look at my eyes and look at grandpa. I have hazel-green and his are bright blue like your aunt’s. So I get it, I know what it is like to have a little sister take something that you think you should have. But I can also tell you that you have something that she doesn’t.

My hands and my feet. Or should I say that I have grandpa’s hands and feet and you have mine. That is a silly way of saying that all three of us have the same hands and feet, not to mention very similar temperaments and manners. We are all different people and there are things that are entirely our own, but there are things that only we have.

Technically this post is being written early Wednesday morning but since I haven’t gone to sleep yet it is late Tuesday night to me. A few hours ago you introduced me to a new song called Fireflies by Owl City. We sang along with it together. You don’t know how much I enjoy this singing with you, our voices mingling together. I sing softly because I don’t want to overwhelm your voice. I have a deep voice and you don’t, not yet. I am guessing that one day it will be like mine but for the time being it is not and that is ok.

You asked me why I carried you to bed tonight and I just smiled. I was surprised that you didn’t tell me to put you down. The reason I carried you was because all of a sudden I had a vision of you as a really big kid and it hit me how little time is left. Unless something bizarre happens I’ll be strong enough to carry you for decades, but you’ll soon be big enough that it won’t happen. It won’t be necessary. Oh, you’ll lean on me at some point. You’ll need me just as I’ll need you, but this is different. When you become a father you’ll understand it better. You’ll understand the desire to hold onto these last few moments of this particular stage.

And as for you, little missy well you are an entirely different story. You are most assuredly your own person and just as dear to me as your brother. You aren’t a boy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It scares me sometimes to see how damn smart you are. I catch you watching us and I see the wheels turning in your head. I know that you are taking notes. I watch you try to manipulate me into getting your way. You are a good girl and you don’t do it all the time, but you do try. I am not surprised by it because that is what kids do. I did it too.

Tonight you danced to Party in the USA and a few other songs. You asked me to watch you so I did. You still move like a little girl and believe me I am happy about that. But I see you watching the big girls and I know what is in your head. The day is coming when you’ll figure out how to dance like a big girl. I can’t stop it and I am not going to try because you are very much like me. If I forbid it you are going to do it anyway. So I am going to do what I can to be me subtle about trying to help keep you out of trouble. Like I said, I know some of these things because I was in your shoes and I remember. And more importantly, you are like me and I recognize those signs too.

Sometimes I wonder if you remember how I used to dance with you when you were a toddler. I wonder if when the Godfather waltz comes on something clicks inside your brain and you smell daddy and remember how I used to twirl you around. You used to giggle and I’d tell you stories.

Anyway, it is late and there will be time to share more with you later. I love you guys.

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4 Comments

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  2. V-Grrrl February 23, 2011 at 5:55 am

    I have a hard time looking at old photos of myself and noting the inevitable march of time. My kids have surprisingly little interest in who I was before I was Mama.

    For me, there is a wonderful balance in having two children, a son and a daughter. One the oldest, one the youngest. One the Boy, one the girl. Easy for them to feel special and secure in the family unit.

    Neither of my children resembles me, but my son has my hands and his father’s feet. He has his father’s engineering skills, and my sense of humor and love of music, and my brother’s quiet reserve and temperament. My daughter looks like my husband and has his square hands, internal GPS, and multi-sport athleticism. But she has my creativity, academic skills, and openness and zest for life.

    • Jack February 24, 2011 at 12:10 am

      I understand the difficulty with looking at old pix. Sometimes it just chafes my sense of self to see how much has changed. And that balance you speak of, well that I understand. There are advantages to having boys and girls. I like how you see so easily the characteristics and traits of your children. It shows a good understanding of who they are.

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