Monday, August 01, 2005
Musical Numbers and Farts
I read an Anne Tyler book once about a woman who went on a trip with her family. Her husband was dismissive, her kids were were irritable, and she was stuck doing all the cooking and appeasing. She wanted a break from her "vacation" and started walking down the beach. Before she knew it, she was walking further and further. And then she had this wild hair to grab a bus ride. And before long she was talking to people she would never speak to within the framework of her hectic mom/wife life. And then she looked at her watch and hours had passed. By then, it was night time and she was exhausted, so she checked into an old hotel under a new name. And never checked out. She literally just started over. Got a job, got a boyfriend, bought some furniture. She figured her inappreciative family would never miss her, so why not?
To be truthful, I have absolutely no desire to ditch my kids or my husband. I complain, sure, but I'm satisfied with the little routine I have set out for myself. What began as creaky notes and clanging drums when I first got married has turned into a nice little musical number of doing laundry, making dinner and sometimes/sometimes not maintaining a balance between my mom role and my artistic soul. Just yesterday, I upgraded from Musical Theatre to impromptu Opera for Dominic, Sophie and their cousin, Hannah. They weren't listening to my command of "Don't open drawers" and were having a field day throwing clothes all over Dominic's room (Only adding to my theory even more that kids don't need toys when they can just destroy your housework - or better said, create housework.) So rather than start screaming (see blog below) I told them to sing the word "No-OOOO!" They did. Then I'd sing in high operetta "Do we throw away our clothes..." And they'd say No-OOOO!" And before long a song that even Andrew Lloyd Weber would love was was created (Okay, maybe Andrew Lloyd Weber after six Newcastles.)
Do we Throw Away Our Clothes?
Do we Go and Pick Our Nose?
Do we bash Sophia's Head?
Do We Jump On Fresh Made beds?
No - ooo!
When I got to the big finish of "Do we smell our butts and fart?" they almost fell over themselves in giggle fits. Dominic was quick to point out that "Mommy farted yesterday!" which was true, and that made me laugh. So there we were, Sophie a literal mountain of clean clothes with her little pea head sticking out - her four toothed smile wide in laughter - and Nick with a shit eating grin the size of Texas. And let's not forget beautiful Hannah, a year older than Nick, reminding everyone to focus on the song. Funny flatulation or not, the show must go on!
As I reviewed the day's events in my head on way over to Cecelia's (who I was housesitting for), Anne Tyler's book popped into my head. I glanced over at the many cars next to me on the road. Mercedes with Polo Driving matriarchs. Old beaters with dark skinned teens. Old beaters with light skinned teens. SUVs with burnt out moms and old vans with burnt out soccer dads. Limo drivers. Bus drivers. Taxi drivers. Happy drivers. Angry drivers. Hurried drivers and slow poked drivers.
I wondered what would happen if I hopped into any one of their cars? Where would they take me? To a house in Malibu next to Brad Pitt? To Brad Pitt's house where we'd mow his lawn? To the flower mart for first dibs on roses for a quincinera? How my life would change.
How do we ever know if our choices are the right ones? Especially when we spend so much of our days doing what we need to do rather than what we expected we'd do. I reason that it's within the musical notes of the operas we create that we find the answers. Some evenings we'll end a great number with a glorious trumpet blast. Other times, like my day, a fart. Either way, life's music is short, so I play.
Sophie and Dominic Highlite of the Day: Our Opera, but of course!
(* Picture taken about two months ago. The kids were being so good for me as I cleaned the bedroom. Then I walked into the bathroom and found out why. And no, that was not the"baby powder" that Nick thought it was.)