The other day, I turned on “Let it Go” — the theme song from Disney’s "Frozen" —in the car. My 3-year-old loves to belt out that tune like she’s a Broadway star, and she begged me to turn it up and roll down all the windows.
As she started to sing, she looked at me in the rear-view mirror and said, “Sing, mommy!”
So I did. And I didn’t just sing. I performed, bellowing every single note in unison with my daughter while we both did full-out hand gestures and facial expressions as if we were on a stage.
Don’t judge; it was fun. Not just because she was having fun, mind you, but because it was actually fun. I’m certain people at stoplights questioned my sanity and whether or not I was having some sort of adverse reaction to medication, but I didn’t care. You should try it. It was oddly therapeutic.
Which got me thinking...
My kid lives a happy-go-lucky, stress-free existence. Perhaps I should adopt some of her behaviors.
• Perhaps I should notify the world when I’m unhappy. Kate is prone to airing her grievances — at a generous volume — to all who will listen. If we’re at a restaurant and she’s finished eating, she’s been known to sob, “I want to go home!” At the grocery store, “I don’t want to go in the cart!” is her default statement. Now that I think about it, this could be really freeing. Imagine how empowering it would be at work to just stand up, scowl and shout, “I WANT TO GO HOME!” in the middle of a meeting. The trip to Human Resources might be a little less freeing, but possibly worth it.
• Perhaps I should yell “hello” to every neighbor who dares to step outside of their home. It doesn’t matter if they’re mowing, carrying a sofa or unloading groceries — if one of our neighbors has the unmitigated gall to step outside of their house, my daughter will accost them with a flurry of hollered salutations. "Hi, Gary! Gary! Hey, Garrrry!" And if they dare to engage her in conversation, she will tell them every little thing that’s happened to her in the course of the day. Next time I’m sitting on the porch, maybe I’ll trying screaming “HELLO, GARY!” at my next door neighbor. And if I successfully manage to tear him from his riding mower, I’ll give him a play-by-play of the bug I saw on the window that morning, the ouchie on my hand and how much I really, really like pancakes. Then I’ll tell him the name of my grandma’s dog repeatedly. It might not relax me, but it could be fun to just mess with Gary.
• Perhaps I should award best-friend status to strangers. Anyone who talks to my daughter is her best friend. They might not know it, but as they walk away she usually tells me, “She’s my best friend.” The warmly-inaccurate feeling that I have a plethora of best friends could totally lower my blood pressure. Like Oprah with new cars, I could dole out best friend statuses. Guy working at the gas station? You’re my best friend. Lady who mixes my frappuccino at Starbucks? You’re my best friend. Chick with the cool Jeep? You’re my best friend. Squirrely fella who lets his dog poop in my yard all the time? Er...hey.
She points at strangers and says, "He looks grumpy." She colors on walls with unapologetic flourish. She eats hot dogs with her fist and hands me the bun. This kid is living her best life, and perhaps I should follow suit.
Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes weekly for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.