Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wonder Wheel

Totally awesome weekend.

It started on Friday when Bambina received a personal note from none other than her #2 hero, Dan Zanes. (He's #2 behind his former guitarist Barbara, who so captivates Bambina that we must call her Barbara for days on end while she shreds on her ukulele and acoustic guitar. A guitar that is precisely three times her body weight but no matter to her). How cool is it that he wrote her a little handwritten note in reply to her fan letter to him? I will kiss DZ when I see him next for making my kid so inordinately happy beyond her imaginings. Beyond the coolness factor, that is some seriously retail fan service, is all I can say.

Dan Zanes wrote a song called "Wonder Wheel" about the ferris wheel at Coney Island. It's also about life and all the ups and downs that go with it. But mostly, in my mind, it's about the fact that you're never on the wheel alone; that you can be at the highest or lowest point, have the greatest vista or most restricted view, but what matters is that everywhere you look you have a friend in all the places that matter.

Like on Saturday when we did an early AM drive to our old college to do a meet-halfway day with college friends and their kids. It was pretty damn cool to have Bambina see the place where my life and most treasured friendships as I know them were formed.

She, of course, couldn't have cared less.

She was oblivious to my announcements of, "...and this is where Mama used to work on campus!" (I sagely left out the tour of "and this is where Mama puked her guts out after drinking waaay too much jagermeister" and "this is where Mama did the walk of shame after a night or three with the person you now know as 'Uncle Jim' and/or 'cousin' Sally's Daddy")... The grown-ups had these grand plans to take the kids on a campus walk, a stroll in the arboretum, blah blah blah. Bambina and the other kids just wanted to a) play ball on the green and b) go to the beach near campus. So we did, had a fabulous time, all the while laughing that we brought our kids to our alma mater only to take them places we never went and to do things we never did while there.

I, of course, did my obligatory UPF 50+ beach attire for 15 minutes at the ocean and then retired to a shady area to avoid another round of skin flayings courtesy of Dr. Mohs. But, regardless, it was cool. To see and be seen by friends. To actually meet their kids after this crazy year. To confirm that there is something singularly life-affirming about spending even an insane day in the company of kids, your own and those of the friends you love. (I take a dim view of spending a day with "kids" in the general public sense of those that might be behind me on a plane or at the movies. I'm talking strictly about kids you just love right away because they belong to people you love).

Then today we went to the swan boats in the public gardens with another family of friends. Another couple whose kids I had not yet met. Total fun. Or, as their mom and I were saying, total fun for us; but not for people without kids. People without kids would be hating this trip and hating us, but we were having a great time. Especially since all our kids seemed to be on the exact same "I'm hungry/tired/cranky" whine schedule. One cool part of the day was when Bambina saw our friends' son chasing pigeons and decided she wanted to try it. Now, Bambina is not into boys these days. She finds them annoying and loud and chaotic. But we all have something to learn from each other, and I was so psyched to see her realize that chasing pigeons looked like fun, because I know it is not an activity that she herself would ever have conceived of or deemed at all worth a look. So she asked me to chase pigeons with her. Nota bene that she did not go to the boy and play with him. That sh*t ain't happenin' with Bambina. As evidence, she lists the names of her girl friends and then says, "and no boys except Dada."
Dada hopes this sentiment continues until she is 44.
Dada will be very sad in about 10 years.
Unless she turns out to be lesbian, in which case he will rejoice.

But I digress as usual. It was so great to see Bambina do something so un-Bambina-like by virtue of seeing a boy do it, because I think there is a certain spunk to some young boys that girls can benefit from. And this kid's got it in spades, as does his big sister. So amen for breaking down gender barriers. Or whatever chasing pigeons means in the larger psychosocial sense of the gender construct. Or something.

Later in the day we went to Bambina's preschool building, which is in a community center. to play in her playground. She decided that she absolutely had to investigate every floor of the building via elevator. So we pressed 2, got off and looked around, got back on; pressed 3, got off, looked around, got back on; etc etc. She was in heaven. And so was I, because of what she said when she had the idea about the elevator. I'm pretty sure I've only said the words to her once or twice, so to hear her internalize it and use it really was awesome. I asked her, "What is it that we're going to do on all these floors?" She replied, "Let's just see where life takes us, Mama."

Which really sums up the beauty of this totally ordinary and yet extraordinary weekend: you can't always have a plan; and even if you do, God might laugh at you as your kids run for the wiffle ball. As "the love of your life" leaves you for another. As you get that scary diagnosis. As your kids go about the business of becoming themselves rather than the mini-mes you decided they would be. As the world refuses to stay just the way you like it for the benefit of your own comfort level.

Yes indeed. God laughs at plans, whether pedestrian or profound. So you might as well take your daughter's hand, breathe in her sense of faith and wonder, press the "UP" button--and see where life takes you.

1 comment:

Utah Savage said...

God, what a beautiful post. You are such an extraordinary writer. I don't have children, but once I had a younger man with a thing for me, and he wanted to drive me around town and point our every single point of interest in his journey from baby to younger man. God what a bore. I asked him half way through this journey dow memory lane, "What the fuck makes you thing I'd have any interest in any of this?" I'm an old little girl, I guess.

Get ready, you're about to receive another award. Maybe tomorrow if I can get my ass in gear and actually learn a thing or two. We'll see.