Have you ever had a song wander through your head, at the perfect time and just stay with you? I’m very lyrical minded so the music can be the lure, but the lyrics are what hook and stays with me. Of course a good singer doesn’t hurt either. Mary Alice and I spend much of each day listening to Pandora’s Bing Crosby, The Andrew Sisters and more recently Perry Como’s music stations. Many of the songs overlap which is akin to AM radio replaying the same tune every hour. But on occasion a song filters through and I’m transported to another time and place. “I swear, every time I hear this song, its like my mom is sitting next to me” I said to Karen, Mary Alice’s daughter the other day. “She used to walk around the house singing this song”. We smiled at one another, each recalling similar memories; both our parents both welcoming the joy of the music into all our lives.
The kids were given an additional day off from school, due to inclement weather yesterday and as a way to help them out of their doldrums, I invited them both to lunch with me and Mary Alice. The doll wasn’t so keen on going, until I mentioned we were going to Panera’s-one of her favorite restaurants. Once we arrived at the restaurant the doll stayed with Mary Alice, while the boy and I ordered our meals and worked together to bring them to the table, along with our drinks. Then all four of us said a lunch prayer and began to eat our food.
The boy finished first and did his best to annoy his sister and bother me into giving him my desert treat to eat. As we sat there laughing, I began to study their faces a little closer than usual…all the nuances as their faces change with age. The boy is fuzzy…a mustache desperately trying to form on his upper lip; sideburns trailing down the side of his face. “He needs a shave” the doll interjected as I tried to pinch some of the hair between my thumb and forefinger. “Ah, not yet…but soon” I replied, catching the boys chin in my hand and admiring his beautiful face. “Mom please stop pulling on my man hair” He said with a smirk and all I could do was laugh.
The doll used to have a little red dot on her upper left cheek-which her doctor informed us would disappear with age. The other day she said to me, “You know I miss my red dot”. Surprised I replied, “You do?” “Yes, it was a distinguishing mark-you knew who I was. The dot was a part of my childhood, which I guess is over…” she explained. “Doll, your childhood isn’t over…just transitioning into something else. Someday, I’ll tell you what I want to be when I grow up…” I added. Scrunching her nose she tilted her head and said, “Huh?” “Exactly…we all change as we grow…while that red mark may be gone, the girl underneath is still the same, right?” She shrugged her shoulders and said, “I guess”. “So, while the distinguishing “mark” may be gone, you, the individual can distinguish yourself by being your original-authentic self”. I replied. “Mom, you’re being weird”. “Yeah well…mom’s prerogative” I added.
And as I sat in the crowded Panera’s restaurant with Mary Alice and the kids, watching as they interacted and laughed with one another; I looked around the room, seeing all the other patrons, as they shared their lunches with acquaintances, friends or co-workers. In that moment, I couldn’t help but hear the lyrics from the famed Louis Armstrong song, What a Wonderful World play out in my mind…
“The colors of the rainbow, So pretty in the sky. Are also on the faces, Of people going by, I see friends shaking hands. Saying, “How do you do?” They’re really saying, “I love you”.
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, They’ll learn much more, Than I’ll ever know.
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world. Yes, I think to myself, What a wonderful world. Oh yeah.
Yep…most days with my kids fit into this wonderful world kind of mold, this day included.