November 3, 2013

They'll Remember

I can't remember it.

It's in addition to packing and taking lunch instead of buying the over-priced-over-greasy-over-daily-caloric-intake quick lunch. Which is also in addition to remembering to sign Georgia's homework assignment book before we leave for the morning. And that's on top of remembering to remind her to take the envelope with the signed class trip permission slip inside. Oh, and the bottle of water. I've slacked off in drinking water lately, so I definitely have to remember that.

But I can't remember The Other Thing.

The Other Thing that doesn't have to be at my fingertips, but it'd be nice if it were at least in reaching distance of my mind's eye.

Can you remember it? You know, that Other Thing.
Or maybe it was a feeling...or a time.

Like the time when you broke out into a run, and I mean a full-fledged-out-and-out Run. Not because you were pushing yourself. Not because you were proving something to anyone. But you ran because you felt like it. Because it gave your body pure joy. That Other Thing.

Or maybe it was the time in your backyard. You spun around and around and around, arms to the side, not giving a second thought to letting them yield to centripetal force. Oh sure, you heard your mom say "You should stop because you're gonna get sick." Maybe you even got dizzy and even lost your lunch like your mom said -- but the spinning, the world whirring around you in blurred, blended colors once you stopped -- felt awesome.

It's funny: I can remember Georgia's Other Thing clear as day, but I just can't remember mine. It was Monday, May 26, 2002 and she was six months old and discovering her "singing voice." Jamie and I had the day off and Georgia? Well, Georgia needed a nap and so did we, but she wasn't having any parts of it.

That kid "sang" in her crib for around twenty-five minutes. Not crying. Not fussing. Singing. Climbing up and down, down and up the scales. Testing whether she was an alto, or a first soprano or a second soprano with breathy "Aaaahhhs" and "Laaaahs" and giggles sprinkled in between. The thought of her Other Thing makes me smile just writing about it.

And I hope she can remember it.

So now there's this little tap dancer whose recital video has gone viral. Some people love her performance because it's just out and out adorable. Other people like it because in her, they see their own goofy kids being goofy kids. Yet others see a Miniature Feminista who says Damned the bland routine, I've got my own strut, and it's peppered with sass and panache.

I think all of that's true, and I love it. Truly. But the dancing, pulling grins in the faces of the confused-stick-to-the-books kids on either side of her, sassing up the routine, lip-syncing the tune as if she's lived the song's lyrics....well, it jogged my memory. You know: the memory I wished was within reach of my mind's eye. It remembered The Other Thing and this was it. It wasn't about hamming it up. It wasn't about soaking up the audience's laughs or applause (although those came naturally). It was about the pure joy of the thing.

And I hope that little tap dancer, like my Georgie-girl, can remember it. If not ten or twenty years from now, then at least when forty-something brings all of life's distractions, worries (real and imagined) and wars (with people who put the fun in dysfunctional and with self) and anxieties and all of the stuff that stuffs down The Other Thing and keeps a person from retrieving it when they need to smile.

Then again, if they can't remember at least they'll be able to pull up a blog like this one or a video and maybe it'll jog their memories.

And they'll remember. Like I just did.