Last night I listened to my husband sing Davey Crocket to our kids as we traveled home from a local Family Fun Fest. He inflected his voice just so and took me traveling back to a memory of my Daddy. I was five or six, wearing a bathing suit in our backyard even though we didn’t have a pool. I was swinging as high as I could on our little swing-set, one of my sister’s sitting on the adjacent swing. My Dad was there, wearing bright red short shorts left over from the late seventies, his knee socks pulled up as high as they go. He had bushy brown hair then, and combed it to the side. He was standing behind us, testing the strength of our swing-set as he gave us big push after big push while we screamed out in mock terror/true delight. He sang the Davey Crocket song as he pushed, inflecting his voice to sound like a burly man that could wrestle a bear with his own bare hands, too.
My memories of childhood are full of images of my Dad as protector, my Dad as fearless. But he loved to play with us, too, and sing to us, dance with us and cheer us on. Last night, as I listened to my husband sooth our overtired and restless kids with the strength of his voice and the inflection of his words, I couldn’t help but wonder what moments will become the freeze frames of their childhood. Whenever I think about my Dad I go to this image from 1986, this playful, laughing image of my Dad showing a soft side to his girls. Whenever I think about my Mom I picture her backstage at my dance recitals, prepared with 12 different kinds of snacks, two new coloring books, a surprise new card game and nothing more important to do then sit there and keep me company.
A few days ago I was toweling off my hair after a shower when I saw Twinkle get out of bed. The way she rubbed the sleep from her eyes, slowly allowing this glow of radiance to enter her face and bring out an enormous smile, I was overcome. I blurted out “you are so beautiful, Twinkle.” She walked over to me, threw her arms lazily around my waist, rested her head on my arm and replied, “you too, mom, even though you are getting old and lumpy.”
I love that moment so much. I am getting older, getting lumpier, and becoming more beautiful than even in my daughter’s eyes. I think that moment will be one of the freeze frames of my memories of her childhood.