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The Children Got it Goin’ On!

At the public pool where I swim, I see some of the most surprising, sweet, messy, touching, heartbreaking, heart-making pages of humanity. Stories within stories that exists within sweaty cement walls — bodies of water that can make eyes sheepish and shy from the Chlorine. Squealing kid screams against the sound of the boom box directed at bouncing bodies—bobbing and swaying to the Bee Gees. And of course, Neil Diamond. You get the picture, right?

Today’s sweet surprise was 2, 4 year old girls unable to stop hugging in the shower. One had bright red hair (adorable of course!). The other was the beautiful Thai sister of twins. The mom’s couldn’t pry them apart. They had to promise more hugging after the shower. And they looked shocked and lost when they were finally separated.

As I dried my hair, the two girls came up to another Mom and baby in a stroller. “Can I touch him?” As the girls pet his head and said how beautiful he was the girls told stories about themselves. She told her about when she was 1 year old and all the places her mother took her— the sounds she made, how she loved yogurt, that she’s a good singer and she’s 4 years old.

What would our lives and world be like if:

  • We hugged as many people as possible as though our lives depended upon it.
  • We bobbed in bodies of water and swayed to 70’s music? Jogging pre-pubescent memories— And the flickers in the water were not cellulite but water sequins!
  • And lastly, just like the girls telling stories about themselves, what if we parked our super social politeness and yammered on about ourselves? Silly, important things, confusing things. Your new sparkly toenails, how you hate garlic mashed potatoes, whatever!

I guess it appears narcissistic to talk about ourselves. But it sure didn’t look that way with the children. It was refreshing. Such a relief from the stresses– the business, government talk. The carefully put together sentences that we all somehow agree to ahead of time. Perhaps narcissism is the fear of annihilation, and much need of some outline of existence through the audience of others. But with children, it’s the opposite. The party is just starting. They are coming into existence and tickled by every molecule that forms. The mirror of moments into days–life’s blossoming.

Okay, so this version of our book maybe looks a little more like a graphic novel or something out of an Asian Murakami pop culture novel. But perhaps feeding that hungry child of innocence could rinse the stains right out of the soul. Who knows? But the Neil Diamond part…well, that’d be okay to skip I think.

• Dakota’s chewing on my hair right now, I wouldn’t put that on the menu for changing the world. But I’m sure he wishes he could hug his girls in the shower like there’s no tomorrow.


  • Ben on Jun 06, 2006 Reply

    Third paragraph is wonderful, and …”narcissism is the fear of annihilation”,…”audience of others” are excellent points. Makes me want to think. Thanks.

  • david Millstone on Jun 06, 2006 Reply

    Lovely moment; thanks for passing it on.

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