It was late, nearing the witching hour, and there I was, walking the boards in flannel with a baby over my shoulder. As I hummed the burping song (my cheesy version of We Will Rock You) and patted Otter’s jammie clad bottom, I was suddenly struck with a vivid sense memory from a time long ago.
You know, the fabled Time before children.
There was a crisp cold smell, and a clack clack swish sound, and a trembling sensation from the thousands of people stomping and clapping.
I was back in time over a decade ago; at the first Stanley Cup Finals game between the Colorado Av’s and the Detroit Red Wings. Prince was playing in the background, an adaptation of “Let’s go Crazy” re-written to be “Cup Crazy” and I was there, newly wed to First Husband, stomping and screaming and loving every minute. I was reveling in the combined energy of the crowd, and thrilled to be close to the ice for such a pivotal game.
I shook my head, and was back in my house, in my thirties, pacing the floor with a baby.
Yes, I thought, I used to be different.
It’s so easy to forget the prior incarnations of my life. When I was a wild young girl, a swing dancer, a professional witch. When I used to braid jewelry into my hair, and wear rings on every finger, and then every second knuckle of every finger. When I would go to a new bar, just to meet new people, and dance with someone who really didn’t mean anything to me at all. The days when I would hit the thrift store, create a crazy outfit that had no style but my own, and then wear it out. When I would hop a Greyhound bus to California with $200 in my pocket and the simple belief that I would be fine, on my own, no matter what.
The past seven years of my life have been so bloody serious. They have been an amazing journey, but they have demanded so much of my soul that I dropped everything else to get through them. Some might say I separated the wheat from the chaff, but I think I may have discarded a bit of wheat too.
I used to attend drum circles every week. I would cart my giant Djembe (The one I bought from an African drum designer in San Diego and then flew home in it’s own seat, lovingly patting it’s hand carved images) to circle, and then lose myself in a swirl of incense and rythym for hours. Hours. I had callouses on my hands and arms from striking the drumhead over and over.
Now my hands have gone soft, and the Djembe sits silent in a corner.
How did this happen?
Is there a way to resuscitate the parts of the old me that bring a pang to my stomach when I think of them or are they relegated to midnight flashbacks and fond reminisences? Am I doing my children a favor by not showing them this wild past me or am I just insuring that they will alienate themselves from me when it is time for their own wild child to emerge? Is there even time for me to pull these past incarnations out of the closet and dust them off? I don’t even have time to shower most days, how will I find the time to Lindy Hop?
Eventually Otter fell asleep, and I was able to set him down, and go to sleep myself. Sadly, I didn’t wake up any closer to the girl at the game, than I was when I remembered her.