This morning the Not-So-Little-One performed a tap routine for her peers in the school talent show. Since I see clients on Thursday evenings and will be unable to attend the real show tomorrow night, I sat with the students and watched.
There was some pretty surprising talent among those 11 and 12 year olds. I watched dancers, gaped in utter amazement at a classical piano movement, laughed at a comedy routine, listened intently to Spanish guitar, patted my foot along with electric guitars, was duly impressed with a cellist, and pondered once again the origins of baton twirling.
The Not-So-Little-One has an admirer, a boy that phones her incessantly and follows her around like a puppy at school. She is too nice to tell him to back off, although she has admitted to being quite annoyed with this uninvited attention.
The admirer happened to be sitting on the floor near me at the show this morning.
When the Not-So-Little-One took command of the stage, the admirer sat bolt upright. (I think I might have even heard him gasp.) And then, when she flashed that million-watt smile of hers, I watched him just melt into the floor.
And it all came rushing back to me. I was 12 all over again and pining… no, aching… for some boy. I remembered and heard and smelled and tasted and felt everything as if it were 1974 and I were right back in the school cafeteria, stealing glances at Gary Maxwell as we assembled year books.
For me, memory has always been more emotion and sensation than events. Has this ever happened to you? You step outside and the temperature and sunlight and sounds are just exactly right, and you are suddenly transported to your second-grade classroom...
It seems like just yesterday I was melting into a puddle as I watched the object of my desire stride toward me. And it wasn’t long ago at all that I felt big, cool, drops splatter on my face as I kissed the love of my life in the summer rain - the warmth of his embrace warding off the chill of the water, laughter bubbling out of me and taking hold of his annoyance and smoothing it from his brow.
Some people equate emotions with immaturity. For many of those folks, emotional maturity resembles taking your feelings by the throat, stuffing them into a sound-proof vault, and bolting the door shut. (Just picture a Klingon and a Vulcan at opposite ends of an emotional spectrum.)
If that is maturity, then I don’t ever intend to grow up. I want to feel every feeling, recall every sensation, replay every meaningful memory, and be young in my mind and in my heart forever. And when I believe I really need to act like a grown up, I’ll figure out how to have all of that without annoying the people around me… too much.