I am pretty sure I have already mentioned how hard it is for someone like me to raise someone like J.R. I think I am easy to please (my husband’s wallet may strongly object to that statement) and it doesn’t take much to turn me on. Really! Just noticing double Box Tops for Education rewards at the grocery store can send me into a frenzy. J.R. on the other hand? Let’s just say that I often have to Jedi Mind Trick him just to get through the day: You have a spelling test today J.R.? You LOVE spelling! Dropped your slice of pizza on the floor and FLIPPING OUT ABOUT IT? Face-down cheese means you’ll have good luck all day! Sick of being forced to wear clothing donned with peace signs? They’re all the rage!
Surely also previously covered, I am obsessed with the 1970’s, especially disco- any song a girl can roller skate to, really. One of my simplest pleasures is to blast Sirius XM’s 70’s on 7 channel while cleaning house (this timing ensures that I am almost always tuned in). Once in a while I just HAVE TO drop my cuban mop and break into dance. Please tell me you do this too! I mean honestly, who can keep still for the duration of ANY title from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack? And don’t even get me STARTED on KC & The Sunshine Band.
You can imagine J.R.’s stock response to my shenanigans. To quote him, just place the word NO in front of my current action: “Mommy NO dancing! Mommy NO singing! Mommy NO jumping on the couch! Mommy NO Bus Stop or Hustle!“
Nothing could depress me more.
Each year, the culminating activity at J.R.’s school is a play, in which EVERY STUDENT participates. I remember touring his campus last Spring, and when the principal explained this my response went something like this: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Well here we are, approaching the end of the school year and J.R. is already hard at work honing his role as a child who won’t even wear a t-shirt that says School Play 2011. Who am I kidding- practice actually began months ago. Seems like the first graders are in it to win it.
One of J.R.’s teachers has a background in the arts, and she is as serious as a heart attack when it comes to preparing the class for their dance routine. Yes I said it, dance routine! I love seeing her at pickup every afternoon, still in her dance clothes. I so badly want to buy her leg warmers to complete the ensemble. Interestingly enough, I noticed the teacher attempting to Jedi Mind Trick ME in to thinking that J.R. was rocking it. “Oh Mrs.Vannatta you should have seen J.R. today, he’s really starting to get the moves down,” she would say. I would smile, roll the window up, and wait until I was a block away before I answered “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” I would wait until I hit the freeway before I started to tear up, thinking there is just no way.
Last Wednesday I swept the floor while J.R. and Jackson nearly bludgeoned one another with blow-up swords. A sweet 70’s ballad played in the background. Whatever the words, I chose to repeat serenity now, serenity now over and over in my head. Then a break in the monotony. KC could barely belt out I’m your boogie man, that’s what I am and I dive for the remote. My speakers brace themselves and I couldn’t care less that my buzz-kill child was present. In an instant I am waving my recently layered hair wildly and shake shake shaking my bootie. I move (awkwardly, but in my mind flawlessly) from the couch to the ottoman to the floor singing every word. I turn to my usually mortified audience and sing right to it.
I’m here to do whatever I can
Be it early mornin’ late afternoon
Or at midnight it’s never too soon
To wanna take you to wanna hold you
I wanna give my all, all to you
And I want you to completely understand
Just where I’m at and where I am – oh yeah…
And before I could sing the next oh yeah J.R. runs over and says “Dance with me mommy!” He holds out his hands for me to grab. And without skipping a beat, thinking omigod omigod omigod is this really happening I pull him in and we are dancing. I think J.R. is even doing The Running Man. I can’t take my eyes off of him, even through my hair that is covering my face from working it so hard. He is watching me. Imitating me. Shaking his white man’s afro as well. And once I saw him point his finger in the air a-la John Travolta, I lost it. I am singing, dancing, crying, and praying for an extended mix.
Here comes Jackson. Just as he engages in a Fred Flinstone-esque move J.R. grabs HIS hand too and before I know it we are spinning in a 70’s ring around the rosie. There is no way in hell I am going to ruin this moment by running over and grabbing my phone to video this. I couldn’t even think of skipping a single word of the song to yell “TIMMMMMMMMMMMMM GET THE CAMERAAAAAAAA!”
NOTHING could keep me from alternating from each child, singing directly to him, I wanna be the one ya love most of all / I’m your boogie man aha … Studio 54 had nothing on us. I don’t dare try to remember when I was ever happier.
Sadly, every great LP must come to an end. I feel two tiny hands let go of mine, and in an instant my boogie men were taking off toward their next venue. I stand in the middle of my living room alone, completely out of breath. Before I start pinching myself Jackson runs back over and says “Can we open your birthday presents now mom?”
Happy Birthday to me.