Monday, April 25, 2011

From a Child's Eyes—by Jamie Levine

The other afternoon, I took Jayda on a bike ride and, along the way, she stopped and asked me if she could pick some flowers; the flowers to which she was referring were the dandelions strewn across a neighbor’s front yard. I told her she could pick as many of them as she wanted and she quickly raced off and returned with a big bouquet of the pretty weeds. Then, she presented them to me and said, “Mommy—give these to Library Guy!” “Really?” I responded. “You don’t want to give them to someone else—or keep them for yourself?” “No,” she insisted. “Give them to Library Guy, and then he should dance with you—and kiss you.” My daughter, the romantic. She’s clearly been watching a lot of Disney movies lately.

A few nights later, I took Library Guy to see my favorite local funk band, which I haven’t seen play since I became a mother. It was their 25th anniversary concert, and, at the risk of aging myself, I must admit I started going to their shows at least two decades ago. Back in the day, their concerts never started before 10:30 p.m., and, after a long intermission and two music-packed sets, the show would go on until the middle of the night. But this time, the concert was called for 7:30, and while I doubted the band would get on stage by then, I was pleased that it wouldn’t be an all-nighter. Library Guy had gotten a baby-sitter and my parents were watching Jayda, and neither of us was planning to stay out too late. But when the band did go on at 7:30—and played straight through to 10:00, and then said “goodnight,” I was shocked. The show ended earlier than it used to begin.

Library Guy and I lingered for a little while with some friends of mine, and then left the club, only to find a long line of teenagers wrapped around the building; a D.J. was going on at 11:00—and hoards of hipsters were just getting their night started. As we got into his car, Library Guy complained that his ears were ringing; so were mine. He drove me straight home, kissed me goodnight, and when I texted him later from bed saying I was bummed we weren’t together, he complained about his ears again. Afterwards, I called a friend to recount my night; she remembers how much I used to crush on one of the musicians in the band, and how I always raced over to talk to him before a show. I told her that this time, he greeted me, “Hey, Momma!” and gave me a big hug as I responded, “Hey, Daddy.” We both have children now, and, though we did spend a few minutes reminiscing about the past, we mostly talked about how tired we are now, the challenges of parenting, and especially, how much we love our kids. And I happily walked away from him straight into Library Guy’s arms.

The next morning, when I saw Jayda, she asked about my night. I told her Library Guy and I had spent a really fun evening together—and that we’d even danced. “Did he kiss you, too?” Jayda asked. When I told her “yes,” she clapped her hands enthusiastically and grinned from ear to ear. I couldn’t help but smile back. I just wish I could always view the world—and my life—from my child’s sparkling eyes.


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