Oh, those were the days…
Worn wooden sides of a see-saw digging into your inner thighs as you hang, suspended waiting for your partner on the other end to gently let you down. But sometimes they didn’t.
“Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear let me down…”
“What will you give me?”
Remember this one? Then you’d start naming wondrous things like candy bars, puppies and ten-speed bikes, hoping that one of these would hit the sweet spot and you’d plummet to the earth ready for the next round.
Or how about this old rhyme…
“Teeter-totter, bread and butter. Wash your face in dirty water. If you don’t, I don’t care. I’ll pull down your underwear.”
This we did in a rhythm, up and down, up and down, our legs pushing up so hard that sometimes we would almost become airborne at the top, our hands in a death grip on the handle as our rears lifted off the seat.
I wonder who out there remembers these. Let me know. And if you have other teeter-totter rhymes, share them. I’d love to hear.
You know the kind. You may even have them on your fridge, scattered about. Mine are on the dishwasher – an easy reach for a little girl to tinker while her mother is fixing dinner. When she was younger, about five or so, the sentences my daughter composed were short usually article, subject, verb (The dog sat.) I would pat her head and tell her how proud I was as I stirred at the stove. Then as she grew so did the sentences, adjectives and adverbs thrown in for color. (The ugly man ate purple.) I might nod my head with enthusiasm, cradling the phone between my shoulder and ear while chopping lettuce. But after a while, like most things that are there, just there – everyday, her magnetic words blended into the background of my life.
It was perhaps last Wednesday that I spilled grape juice on the kitchen counter and it ran down the front of the dishwasher. As I was wiping down the stainless steel front I noticed my now nine-year-old daughter’s creations. They gave me pause. How the sentences had changed since I last looked – really looked. And I read and read and re-read. And laughed and cried and marveled at the brave abandon with which she strung these words together. And then envious that I no longer seemed to have the unbridled freedom of youth to just play and mix and take that risk.
I edit myself too much.
So here for your enjoyment are some of the creations that grace the face of my dutiful dishwasher (starting from the humorous and going to the sublime.):
I like ugly buttheads.
Woman will use a rock to smear diamonds.
He loves breast milk and juice.
Pound your peach after the blue moon.
Her sea spray lives in a place.
Scream through winter light and cool rain.
I watch water and sunshine lie on leaves.
Never let me dream about you.
*Some of these may have been written by my daughter’s friends as well. Nevertheless, they are priceless!