There were various topics I wanted to contemplate in written form as I sat down to write yesterday evening, but then the kids started making music videos, and it was all I could do to string three words together, let alone form cogent thoughts about anything weightier than, well, music videos.I could have taken my laptop to a different room. I could have asked the kids to take their dancing somewhere else. I could have insisted that if they wanted to stay in the same room as me, they stop making so much commotion and let me get some writing done.
But it was one of those times when the transience of the moment seemed to shimmer in the air in front of me, and I couldn’t do anything but stay with it. My two kids have so much fun together, but it’s not typical of them to get quite this rowdy, especially on a weekday evening. Like sleeping late or the occasional good cry, I could tell they needed this particular release at this particular moment. We’d been our usual strict-parenting selves at dinner, insisting that they stop yammering when the conversation turned to nonsense and then laying down the law about what needed to be picked up, washed or put away before they could leave the kitchen. Tim had been working hard on his science fair project all afternoon, and Holly had finished her homework. It just seemed so clear they needed to let loose for a little bit.
Still, I could have removed myself to somewhere quiet to do my writing. But one thing we all like about this house, with its open rooms and common areas that flow together, is that it keeps us all in the same space a lot of the time: we don’t all retreat to different corners when we’re home. And somehow I wanted to stay in the thick of it. I’ve taught enough adult education classes in creative writing and memoir writing by now to know that these are just the scenes adults look back on when they write about happy moments from their childhoods: the evenings of crazy dancing with a sibling after dinner, and the way mom inexplicably let them be as loud as they wanted that night and even submitted to a screening of the videos they’d filmed of each other afterwards.
Adults write about bigger moments from their childhoods as well: family vacations, camp memories, prizes or trophies won. But already, I could imagine a day when Holly or Tim might recount this moment as a silly memory: dancing, singing, laughing, filming. And I didn’t want to step out of the memory just yet.
So I stayed in the midst of it and let the clamor descend around me. Yes, it prevented me from being able to string three cogent words together. But there will be other days for writing, other times for analytical thought. Last night was a night for singing and dancing and making silly videos.