Some things change and some things don’t. I am entering the New Year with immense gratitude for both. With the notable exception of a few very old jackass buddies who will never change (thank God!!), life is in a constant vibrating, shifting and shattering state of change. Some change is massive and requires supreme reserves of courage and resolve to endure. Other change is a subtle whisper heard only by the listener. This change dances on the delicate edges of our perception and we feel it more than we see it. Nonetheless, its resonance is powerful. I am thankful for both. They remind me that I am still growing and learning and living. They give me hope.
Last night, I forced my ten year old daughter, Helena, to watch the “Muppet Movie”. She prefers the new, shiny shows and usually objects to my little history lessons. When she complained that the movie was “so unrealistic”, I replied with, “Yeah, they’re friggin’ MUPPETS! Pay attention.” She did…for as long as she could. She, then, just became annoying, which is her go-to response when she’s bored.
She started jumping on me and flailing around. She poked and pinched and bugged the crap out of me. During this exchange, (which wasn’t much of an exchange, as I just kind of sat there and took it and hoped she would tire of my indifference and stop) I found her hair brush sitting on the back of the couch. I tried to brush her hair, which she hates, since “it hurts” when I do it. Following some yelling, I softly ran the stiff bristles along her bare arm. “Hold on!!” I could feel her say to herself. “That feels good.”
I, then, began caressing my little agitated girl with the brush. Reluctantly, she complied. She turned over so I could get her back. Soft touches with a hair brush are irresistible. She lay down on my lap and allowed me some rare daddy coddling. She turned her attention to the classic “Muppet Movie” and settled down. It was during this all-too-brief respite from her growing up that I was reminded that she is still my little girl.
Watching the “Muppet Movie” as my daughter laid across me made watching the movie better than the first time I saw it. And I really liked the “Muppet Movie” the first time I saw it. Our kids have no idea how we feel about them. In their selfish, self-involved little spheres of understanding, they cannot conceive that one can love another more than themselves. It’s a secret reserved for parents.
As most good things aren’t, this gentle moment wasn’t built to last. I was untroubled by this as, at this point in my life, I am beyond being too concerned about good moments lasting for long. I just appreciate that they existed at all. The good moments come and they go. Life is not lived in years or even days; it is lived one little moment at a time. And it is full of some good ones.
When I first turned on the movie, Kermit was singing “Rainbow Connection”. Here, I was immediately transported back to my younger days, curled up in a blanket, watching the “Muppet Movie” with my mom and dad and brother. My time capsule of good moments cracked wide open and revealed my life’s treasures.
While remembering my past and enjoying my present, I was simply happy. As Kermit soulfully hit his crescendo, I believed that his song was perhaps the most magical sound I had ever heard (or at least the best song ever sung by a frog) and another moment was cemented into my vessel of good things. I can’t be sure, but…I think my little girl may have added it to hers as well…
[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who just published his first book called "A Feel Good Life" (buy it on Amazon here). Dave also extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]