Free To Be Me

Yesterday, the child and I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things.  As I walked around from aisle to aisle, picking up all sorts of goodness (seriously – my life has found excitement iFreedom_by_Hannadevan grocery shopping…so sad…), the child sat in the shopping cart and provided me with all sorts of quality entertainment.  Between that entertainment and directing where I needed to place each item in the cart, she was definitely the star of this show.  Her entertainment consisted of both singing and dancing – sometimes all together – while sitting in the cart.  At one point, I realized she was singing “Put A Ring On It” by Beyonce – or, as she recalls, the Chipettes.  Thank God no movements supported that song…even though I could totally teach them to her.  But I digress…

There was one moment where we were standing in line to check out and she is putting on the performance of a lifetime – still in the shopping cart, mind you.  People all around with nothing to do but stand and wait, it was no time until all eyes were on her…without intending to stare.  She would finish beautiful ballads with arms outstretched and head tilted back.  She would shimmy those shoulders when strong, theatrical moments in a song called for it.  She had command of this stage.  And, more than that, she didn’t give a shit about everyone else standing there watching (even though their faces held nothing less than grins and smiles).  Her performance was something like this…

What I realized through this masterful performance, however, was this – she was being who she was.  My daughter absolutely loves to sing – to dance – to use her imagination to its fullest – to enjoy whatever time she has with doing whatever the hell she wants to do.  I stood there with her – never taking my eyes off her – and smiled like everyone else because…how could you not?  Through the busy-ness of the supermarket, she was lost in her own perfect imagination.  Did she see all of these people standing around as spectators at her concert?  Was she standing front and center stage on Broadway, Carnegie Hall, or some local theater stage?  All of these things (and plenty more) were sure to be outlined in her own mind.

God, how awesome it would be to still have that mindset!  I’ve thought about this a lot since just last night.  I’ve thought about how “growing up” makes us lose not only our innocence, but our imagination.  We no longer have the dreams we once did.  We focus so much on how others will perceive us.  I mean, I know I’m not a child anymore – and I have responsibilities (though, really, has that ever stopped me?!) – and growing up is part of life.  But does that automatically mean there’s no more fun to be had?  I don’t think so – or at least I sure hope not.

This sort of challenged me.  Of course, as a parent to a very active six year old child, I get to release some of that energy by coloring, playing kitchen, running around a playground, and whatever else they like to get into.  But, in some ways, I want to get back to using my [rusty] imagination – dreaming my [huge] dreams – and being the coolest damn dad this kid has ever had.  I mean, technically I am the only dad this kid will have.  But you get where my thought was leading…

Anyway, here’s to being me – and putting on sell-out shows in the grocery store.

[SAJ]

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