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Not In Any Hurry For Anything Tonight

kids growing up

She should’ve been in her bed 30 minutes ago.

Instead, she’s lying with me atop of mine, beneath a spinning fan pushing unseasonable cool air around the room.

She’s chuckling, flopping around from side to side, getting out the evening goofs. Her teal hair are windshield wipers in front of a big cheesy smile letting me know everything up ahead is going to be just fine.

This is her sometimes night time routine.

After a baker’s dozen worth of years, I know that all of the giggles and all of the movement will help her succumb to sleep, so I pull like a Pro Bowl offensive tackle to spring her free of mom’s exasperated pleas to “just go to bed, already”.

I’m looking at her, my wide-eyed wide-awake 13-year-old, listening to her nonsense and her snorting laughs, and I begin to feel an approach of tears. There they are again as I write these sentences down to remember and to share this night with you.

I tell her that I’m getting choked up at how “funny it is to look at you”. She finds this hilarious, my calculated phrasing of the thought.

The pictures I’m seeing in my mind are of this same girl atop this same bed beneath this same ceiling fan some 10 summers prior. She’s wearing red shorts and a red and blue stripped generic baseball-themed pajama top from the boy’s section. She’s standing up, with one of her mom’s fancy hats on her head, singing a nonsensical song with blood and guts, deserving of a spot on taped-up centerstage blocking at the Public Theatre or the Shubert, with a dusty spotlight cast upon her face.

I see and hear it as if this was yesterday. Her eyes are closed, her voice undulates, one hand is across her chest clutching her heart, the other is outstretched with fingers curled slightly, reaching for what’s just beyond her grasp.

This performance is a learned memory for my teenager, thanks to a video mom thankfully shot. My kid knows how much I still adore this small moment from her young life.

I laugh a little, to release a drip of emotion before the dam bursts, and tell her that she’s still that same kid; brilliant and ridiculous, talented and undeterred, and singing to the cheap seats with an impassioned expression exclusively for the front row, for those who have made the most significant investment.

She was everything and is now even more.

I’m in no hurry for her to get sleepy. I’m in no hurry for anything tonight.

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