Paul McCartney rings in my ears and I reminisce back to road trips as a kid. Six of us in our tan and brown suburban listening to the Beatles while on our way to a new campsite to explore. Sailboards strapped to the top, bikes clanking on the trailer, and the cab packed perfectly like a winning Tetris game. We all have unique memories from our childhood. Different moments that stand out more than others. For me, I often think of these car trips and how I could sing along to most Beatles songs since they were the soundtrack to many of our family trips. At least this is how I remember it.
My oldest brother probably listening to something more current on his yellow walkman while passionately drumming on his leg (Van Halen or Def Leppard make for some great leg drumming) and my other brother practicing card tricks to surprise us with at our campfire breakfast while chomping on Big League Chew. My sister paging through a Babysitter’s Club book in her white Keds and stonewashed jeans and my mom gripping on to an empty Wonder Bread bag just waiting for someone to get car sick. My Dad singing along to the Beatles and frequently sharing a cool fact about the Beatles or something fascinating about nature and me writing an especially awesome entry in my top secret diary or working on my 100th friendship bracelet – pinned to my pants.
Now, as a parent I get caught in the crazy moments and forget to just Let it Be. Written actually for his Mother Mary who told her son to “let it be” in a dream, this song plays in my head more often than I realize. Must be a mother thing…When I take a step back from the chaos of parenting, take a breath and actually soak it all in, I can faintly hear that Beatles song playing as if I were a kid again in the back of that suburban. No cares, no worries, no fears. Just dreaming about roasted marshmallows, skipping rocks, and where to hide the key to my diary.
Too often we get lost in the intensity of parenting. The control we think we have and try so hard to manage. But that control, that plan we are following and lists we are checking are just clutter. Clutter in our brains and our hearts, getting in the way of just letting it be. Clutter not allowing us to sing and act on this need in life. The day will come when we wish this clutter could consume us again so we could find ourselves making that big decision to let it be… while kids play, make messes, learn, create, and challenge us in more ways than anyone ever warned us about. At the same time, it is our job to help our children relax too. The toddler world I am living in now, is filled with silly emotions and a lot of frustration. I am learning to get down to their level, eye-to-eye and teach them how to ‘brush it off’, how to move on when things don’t go their way, and how to just let things be while “speaking words of wisdom”. I’ve even broken out in song and received crickets in the midst of a tantrum. Must be the shock of their mom joyfully singing at the top of her lungs while their current world is “falling apart”. But crickets are much better than desperate cries for help… because Barbie’s shoe is just too tiny to get on (I agree little one, I agree).
A healthy parent-child relationship is symbiotic in many ways, as we are essentially part of each other. We learn from each other and thrive because of each other and in some ways we cannot live without each other – or imagine life apart. So, I will do my best to practice what I am trying to preach to them and let it be. Let life happen as beautifully as it should while visions of leg drumming, magic tricks, babysitter clubs, and friendship bracelets dance in my head.
It’s amazing how great memories can seep back into your life at just the right time.
Mr. McCartney’s Mom was a wise woman – thank you, Mary.