Last Monday night, Rene set off fireworks in honor of her 65th birthday. We acquired a few neighbors as an audience, and we all stood together laughing while we oohhed and aahhed over each small burst of sparks and flame as if it were a full blown Grucci Brothers Show. Rene cannot move fast, so as she lit each firework we all cried, run, run, run, and she did run- slowly- laughing in the showers of sparks, basking in the warmth of the attention.
When the show was over and the neighbors dispersed, we stood together pushing the spent cardboard cylinders to the side or the road with our feet, promising to pick up in the morning light. Suddenly the words spilled out of my mouth, “If the neighborhood burns down tonight, everybody will blame us.”
“You sound just like your mother,” Rene told me. She was right, I did. I am well trained to come out with something negative in the midst of any silliness (as was my mother, of course). I had to swallow twice before I could squeeze out a thank you. I have asked her to point these moments out, because I want to know, but I have to struggle for the grace to accept them.
I have thought about this a lot this week, and talked to friends, trying to see why I do this. I have come to a couple of conclusions. One is it’s a control issue. If I end a fun time with a negative comment, I am preparing myself for the fun to end-instead of letting myself enjoy whatever for as long as possible. The other is that I was squashed a lot as a child, and have cut off the playfulness which is part of me for way too long. This both saddens and enrages me. I have missed out on so much!
I can see why I glommed on to Rene 11 years ago, even though many people could not see what the attraction was. She is indeed 9 years old in reverse dog years, acting silly, moving through her world in with a childlike wonder, making up for the deficiencies in her own childhood, while dragging me along, sometimes willingly, sometimes full of embarrassment. “Don’t be silly,” whispers the voice of an archetypal negative mother,” Don’t look foolish. What will people think?” That I’m silly? That I’m not an adult? That I’m not prefect?
To hell with that. I am a silly, imperfect adult. I want to encourage my own childlikeness, let it free to play and laugh and show off. It won’t happen overnight, I know, but change is what I’m all about these days no matter how slowly and painfully. Friday night we set fireworks off again, and I tried to savor every moment of it!
Picture fromwww.welfare-state.org/. ../connections.htm