71 miles to go
Responsible parents would have put their children to bed by now
No one puts their children to bed early
Or on time
70 miles to go
She and I are playing peekaboo with the moon
The man in moon peeks at us
Then disappears behind the blackest of clouds
Just his eyes appear in a break then slowly sink down
Someone has put the moon to bed
She says it looks like an animal
Look! It’s nose
It’s a bit magical
If she was asleep, we wouldn’t be able to play peekaboo with the moon
Responsible parents let their children play peekaboo with the moon
I just finished shucking corn on the back porch. The ribs for dinner are on the grill. The smell penetrates the neighborhood. It smells like home. Like my Dad’s cooking.
I can hear thunder rolling in the distance as a small storm moves this way. There is hope it will cool off this hot sticky day.
Fat drops of rain pinging on the roof and off the gutters. Easy rolling thunder.
Summer on the small back porch.
A child, once terrified of the smallest of storms, sits. Watching. Waiting. Quietly.
It could be any day, but it’s the Fourth of July.
A small town, middle-America, Forth of July.
Earlier in the day there was a neighborhood bike parade.
Hot. Sweaty. Dirty. Happy children filled with laughter. They are hungry, but they keep on playing outside in the July heat. Four year olds and thirteen year olds, playing.
It reminds me of my childhood. Celebrations in America without politics. Divisions. Anger. Hurt.
Sure it was there. Behind the scenes. But it didn’t dominate. Take over. Ruin. Sadden.
We took our kids to the retirement home to lead a patriotic sing-along with the residents. Songs of my childhood. Songs I know by heart, but now need to teach to my children. I have forgotten to teach them these songs. There are more songs I need to teach them.
Six to ninety-something years old. All singing.
Back at home after the evening meal of ribs, freshly shucked local corn, baked beans, lemonade and a cheese cream pie to come, we head outside to light fireworks that don’t leave the ground. Only smoke in different colors.
The same girl terrified of storms, holds a small sparkler for the first time in years. Fears turn softer, slowly turing into joy.
“Can I have another?”
“I’ll hold two this time.”
Fear slowly turns to … freedom.
Freedom to be a child.
To play all day outside.
To not be scared.
To be adventurous.
Freedom to be a child on the fourth, and every other day.
When I was growing up, I wanted to be on Broadway. I memorized lyrics, sang the songs, and in my heart, was a Broadway Baby. The girls next door loved musicals as much as I did. We would put together our own musicals on their driveway. Belting out show tunes, or made up songs. We were a regular drive-thru theatre.
We probably “produced” Annie a million times. The 1982 movie cemented the songs and dreams in our brain. I was often Annie, the most sought after character in our group. She was the lead, after all. As I grew up, my desired character shifted from Annie to Ms. Hannigan, because, well … Carol Burnett. (I also wanted to be Carol Burnett when I grew up, because, well … Carol Burnett!)
Can’t you just hear her singing?
“Little girls. Little girls. Every where I turn. I see them.”
Part of this song has become a sort of anthem of my motherhood. I know, Ms. Hannigan does not portray the best qualities, or any qualities of motherhood. But stay with me, because neither does my attitude toward this one little area.
Little (and now big) girl socks!
Ms. Hannigan sings it so well.
“How I hate. Little socks. Little shoes. And each little bloomer!”
She’s belting it out for mothers everywhere!!! The chore of matching little socks, those that are not eaten by the dryer, are my least favorite thing to do. It never fails. Socks go in, but they don’t come out. Also, have you noticed that the same socks, that came in the same package, and are washed and dried in the same machines, come out in different sizes? Also, why can we never find socks? We must have a thousand socks in this house.
All fall and winter long, I hear the same question every day. Every day. (Sigh) “Mom. I need socks!” It’s like I’m living in the movie Groundhog’s Day. Yesterday, there were 12 pairs of socks in your drawer. Where are they today?
Then, something wonderful happens. That something wonderful happened on Sunday. The freezing temperatures are gone, the sun is shinning, and the morning air feels … warm. Dressing for church suddenly takes no time, because there are no socks or tights needed.
We have entered … The Bare Foot Zone!
And it’s wonderful. Sandals, flip-flops, and bare feet!!!
So, here’s to you, Ms. Hannigan and your “Little Girls” song. I also would have “cracked years ago, if it weren’t for my sense of humor!” Let’s hope I don’t end up in the nuthouse with you.