“Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test…” Round and round I spun as those words bounced off the walls of our community pool. While most know those words as one of the songs in the childhood movie, Beauty and the Beast, I knew them as “our” song. My mom and I would climb into the pool during unbearable warm summers. Then she would grasp my hands with a strong, gentle grip and twirl us around and around and around. Time stood still in those moments. Nothing else existed but me, my mom and this magical song. I’d make her sing it to me and spin me around over and over again until I’m sure we were both sick to our stomachs, but it didn’t matter because it was “our” time. My mom understood my childish world. This world that only asked for simple joys and undivided attention for a single hour in order to be content. She knew that world. She cherished that world. My mom helped me create that world for myself. As these Beauty and the Beast sing-a-long days faded, she helped me remember that world. While she wouldn’t twirl me around or sing to me, she had this magic that was able to remind me of those simple joys, take me back to my world, to our world. We would go on ice cream or movie dates and get extra hot fudge and an extra large popcorn, because our world always has the BEST foods. Through high school and into college, my mom could make my stress and anxiety disappear for an hour or so at a time by dragging me back to our world, no matter how reluctant I may have been, in order to have a good giggle session or do something completely silly. Because in our world, we don’t take ourselves quite as seriously. After college, she’d steal me away from my life and we’d sit at coffee shops for hours forgetting about the bustle of the city around us, like we were back in that pool and our conversation was our singing. We’d drink cup after cup of dark roast coffee with steamed half and half and eat chocolate donuts, because in our world there must be good coffee and donuts. Always donuts.
Now our lives are different. We still have our world and our time, but we both must be reminded of it. Life is not as simple as it was when a twirl and a hug cured all pain. But my mom remains. She grips my hand with a strong, gentle grip and leads us both back to our world where there is peace, escape and belonging. The difference is now, I’ve learned the way to our world. Now I can see when this world has gotten too scary and dark and lead my mom back to the simple joys of our world. Together we find healing. Together we still go round and round until all the noise softens and all that’s left is me and her.
I love you mommy! Happy Mother’s Day!