I work from home which is great, because I have a new baby. And it’s also extremely vexing, because I have a new baby. I sat down yesterday to get caught up on things and- no lie- the moment I started working on my largest project, my darling wee one woke from her morning nap.
I gave myself about thirty seconds to feel the injustice of my situation and then decided, instead of plopping her on the floor while I kept plugging away, to turn on some tried-and-true kid music and look at books.
Through this gesture, I began to hear to words of the songs as an adult and thought about how differently life would be if we actually applied the things we are taught as children (and the things we teach our children) as adults.
I’m going to try for these to not all be Raffi, but this song is childhood gold. With lines like “‘Cause your friends are my friends and my friends are your friends, the more we get together the happier we’ll be,” Raffi single-handedly makes a grown-person rethink their aversion to social connectivity. The next time I cancel plans, I hope this song is playing on loop in my brain to get me out in the world.
I get that this song is drilled into our brains from childhood, is incredibly simplistic, and all any of us think about when we hear it is clapping our hands. But that line “If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it…” gets me every time. Because all too often, I see the reverse. When I’m not happy, you see it. My b*tch-resting-face comes on and there’s no denying my true feelings. I’m trying to get real happy and let it shine.
Mr. Rogers, it goes without saying, was an incredible person. This song is a gigantic adult-sized gut-kicker. How often do we hear complaints about our neighborhoods and how often do we contribute to that? I get it. The apartments being thrown up around town while landmarks are destroyed (ok, except for the Thirsty Beaver) is making most of us absolutely insane but really, what if we embraced it and saw the beauty in what we have? It really encourages me to get out and be a bit more neighborly, start offering sugar instead of asking for it.
“Butterfly in the sky, I can fly twice as high!” I mean, come on. Yes! What if we viewed ourselves this way in our families and our careers or our relationships? Sure, it’s talking about imagination but most of us could stand to tap into that again. But also, almost more importantly, in our digital hand-held-device era, it really is nice to “take a look, it’s in a book” instead of taking a look at Google and forgetting why we got on the internet in the first place.
“C is for ‘cookie’, that’s good enough for me.” We are all adults here. Basically nothing is good enough for us- our jobs, our homes, our kids, our bodies, our outfits. We are always looking to improve everything, typically due to some sort of self-imposed dissatisfaction. What if we applied this logic to all things? “T is for ‘teaching’, that’s good enough for me” or “B is for banking, that’s good enough for me” or “P is for parenting, that’s good enough for me.” We don’t have to be the best or outshine anyone or make our way to the top. I want to see my life as it is- good enough for me.
Photo Credit: Randy Rivera
This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.