Sometimes, as Mama says, you just want to freeze a moment in time and keep it going forever. This was one of those moments. I got on that horsey, and the music played, and I went around in circles to the music in my own little world. That is the meaning of happiness when it comes down to it… those little moments in life that you want to hold on to and you don’t ever want to let go of. They all must end, though, and so that little horsey stopped moving and the music stopped. My ride on the horsey was over and that moment was gone. It stopped, though, before I was ready for it to end. My Mama says that those moments in life are often like that… gone quickly but never forgotten.
So we see those moments in pictures, frozen in time, and we can relive them in our minds. That is also happiness, and beauty, the memories in our minds that live on forever. In my dreams that horsey is still moving around, making music just for me with action all around me, but I am stopped in time, moving in circles forever, with nowhere to go and nothing to do but smile and enjoy.
These thingys go to concerts and help make sound louder, right? So now that I’m on it, I can make sound, and I can make things loud, too. That means that I am now a rock star, and I will create beautiful music like the concerts that I have seen and like the videos that I watch when I’m snuggled up to my Mama. I can do it, promise, just give me a little version of the string machine that you guys call a guitar and let me go. I can sing Happy Birthday and the “Dorian Song” with my name in it that you guys sing to me, so I’m good to go. I will sell out and become famous, and everyone will come to see me play. Stardom here I come.
That’s my big, big sister Lilli in there in that tv box. She’s dancing, see? She takes dancing lessons with Miss Tiffany, who is a friend of Mama’s that she has known since she was very, very small– not too much bigger than me. Miss Tiffany has taught my big, big sister Lilli to be a graceful dancer. She looks a lot like the birds flying outside, so pretty and light, when she dances. When I get bigger, I want to dance, too, just like Lilli.
Until then, I love to watch her dance in the tv box and I can dance along. See? I am stomping too and bending and shaking. My legs are little, but they can do those things. I can be like a bird, or I can be like a strong bear with my dancing. I just listen to the music and I go with it, and my Mama says that is how dancing is… you just feel it and move.
I can watch Lilli and my cousin Bama dance whenever I want because my Granny has made videos of all of us growing up to be bigger and bigger people, and I sure am glad that she is making a record for all of us to see when we are big. Mama says that holding memories close and keeping them in videos, pictures, and even what is here in my writing will be treasured by us always and always. Memories, Mama tells me, are what makes us remember who we were and how much potential we have to become whatever we want to become.
Our family, she says, all of the people who love us, are what makes life rich and full of love. I don’t have to be told that, Mama, I know all about it. When I hug you or blow you a kiss, that is love, and all of those things are memories for you too.
For now, though, I will watch Lilli be a bird and I will be a bird. I will soar into the sky, into the tv, and become anything that I want to be. I am a tiny dancer.
This past weekend was a rainy and cold one and the sun hardly came out to play at all. When that happens, most of the time we all stay inside and we have to find lots of things to keep busy. I can most always find something to do and I just become a little baby hurricane, taking everything in my path and putting it somewhere else. My older brother and sisters, though, they can get what is called “stir crazy” and want to go somewhere else and just not know what to do with themselves. We can all run around the house chasing each other and our little doggie or jump up and down or all become little hurricanes, but Mama says that since there are four of us that then it gets to where we are “bouncing off the walls” and that you begin to not be able to walk anywhere without having something in your way. I can do this by myself, too, but with them helping me…. it is pretty amazing the beautiful mess that we can make.
My Daddy is always trying to come up with things for us to do, though, and he is really good at making fun when there wasn’t fun before. Mama says that he never completely grew up himself and that he remembers how to play more than some big people, and she says that this is the best way to be in life. She tells me that we all have a little bit of child in us forever, but she says that some people push it way, way down and that they don’t let it out much. She says her child is in her head and that it comes out in words and reading and in her dreams. Daddy, though, she said is really special because he doesn’t hide his child much and it is still right there, and so he can play with us in a different way than the people that have pushed their child deep down where they can’t get it anymore.
So Daddy put on music videos to have us listen in and sing and dance. Daddy and Mama both have me listen to music and watch music videos every day, and they pick a lot of different types of music– soothing slow music, fast and loud music, dance music, old music, new music– and they tell me that the more that I listen to and love, the more I will understand that music is beautiful in a lot of different ways and that it is art. I thought that art was painting like when I make pictures on paper, but they said that art is someone putting their heart into something so much that it is part of them, and they said that there are a lot of ways that can happen.
Because we were all going to dance this time, though, and to get all of our attention (which is really tough to do), he put on fun and fast things that he knew we would get into like Daft Punk and Taylor Swift. I really love the Taylor Swift “Shake it Off” song because it is so bouncy that I can’t help but dance. It was a good choice, too, because it brought all of us in together in the same room.
At first it was just me standing alone in the room looking at the video and bouncing.
Then everyone saw me there and heard the music, and magic happened. Everyone stopped what they were doing and gathered around me in a little circle and danced along with me, and I got to look around and see that they were doing what I was doing and that they were laughing with me and having fun. Stopping to have fun together doesn’t always happen, but when it does… that is real magic that you can feel in your belly. My big sister Addie threw all of herself into it, because that is what she does for everything, and my big, big sister Lilli danced a lot like the people in the video, because Mama and Daddy said that she takes dance and is “graceful,” which means that she can move like water. My giant brother Jonah even danced along, too, but he might not have if I hadn’t been there I don’t think because he is getting bigger. He had his little phone machine video taping me and trying to get me to laugh and dance while he danced along with me.
It was so much fun that when it was over I was still bouncing up and down to the music that was still in my head (music can get stuck in there sometimes like glue).
Mama tells me that music brings others together and that her and Daddy will show me more and more how powerful it really is as I get bigger. I believe her, and I think that it just might be one of the most powerful things on Earth. After all, my brother and sisters and me are all so, so different in what we love, what we do, and who we are… but we can all feel the joy that music and dancing on a rainy day can be.
Mama and Daddy and my big sister Addie and me went to the big, big library in New York, which Mama said is pretty famous and that there were going to be lions there. At first I thought that she meant real lions, and I have seen those on the National Geographic movies about animals that we watch at home, but she meant stone lions. There they sat in the front looking like they were guarding the library.
Inside there were trees and a lot of people being really quiet. Since it echoed in there and I know how to make a really good echoing sound, I shouted as loud as I could all the way in the main hall. Mama told me to “shhhhhh” like she does when I am roaring, but I was just being like those stone lions and protecting the library.
We wandered all around the building until we got to the children’s section, which was a place where I could get down and I could be loud. I read some books to Daddy, and then we got to do the little people’s storytime with a bunch of little people about my size. A sweet librarian named Sue came in to see us. She talked softly and she smiled a lot, and everyone stopped to listen as she started to sing songs.
There were lots and lots of songs, and I liked them a lot. I played along for a while, but then I decided to walk around and shout some more. After all, I had been in the stroller a lot of the day, so I wanted to run and to play and play and play. All of the other kids stayed more still than me. Mama kept trying to get me to play along with my big sister Addie, but Daddy said something about me being a “free spirit” and “a unique soul” and that it wasn’t going to work. He was right– no one was stopping me. The woman who did the storytime did not seem to mind, and she played with puppets with me and gave me little egg shakers to shake in my hands to make rain sounds. Before we knew it, storytime was done and the woman making the stories and songs laughed and told Mama that it was just fine that I had been everywhere. Of course it was, Mama, this was a time for play. I just throw myself into play. All of me, every ounce, becomes play.
Just like the shakers sound different when played in different hands, we are all different. I might be loud and I might be everywhere, but I am just dancing to the music in my own head and making my own beats in the world. And that beat… the one that is mine… it is perfect just the way that it is, because it is how I was made. I might not be made for quiet, but I am made to make an impact on everyone around me everywhere that I go. Thank you, New York Public Library, and thank you, Sue, for letting me be myself in a space that is meant for quiet.
Today Grandpa, Mama, Daddy, Addie, and me all went to a giant park, the biggest one that I have ever seen, called Central Park. There are all sorts of wonderful things there like a man that makes giant bubbles with a net, singers, people playing music of all types, and other little people playing everywhere. There is even a huge statue of a girl named Alice that is from a book where she goes to a magical place called Wonderland that Mama told me that she has read many times and that she will read to me, too, one day soon. Usually statues are things that you can’t climb on, and if you do, you’ll get in trouble, but Alice was made for little children to get to go and climb all over her, and my big sister got to climb all over her and enjoy her, too. I was too little, but that’s okay– I’ll come back and next time I’ll hug the top of her head.
I got to walk all over the park, though, and one thing that Mama had me and Addie do was to go over to Strawberry Fields and to stand in a big circle that says IMAGINE in the middle of it. I have heard that song before, Mama loves it and plays it a lot, and Grandpa loves it very much, too, and loved the man who wrote the song a long, long time ago. My Grandpa explained that the man who made that song was named John Lennon, and that he was taken away from the world before the world was ready to see him go and before he was ready, too. He told me, though, that his music can live on and on and on and that we can always enjoy it forever because he made it for all of us.
Grandpa told me that the words to the song are to bring everyone together– all different types of people– and to not fight but to love one another instead. I think that I would have liked John Lennon, because I try to love everyone and I don’t see any differences between people– everyone can be my friend. Thank you, Mr. Lennon, for making the world a little more peaceful while you were here and after you were gone.
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one.
My big sister Addie takes drum lessons now. Drums are these big round things that make a lot of noise when you hit them or hit sticks against them (Addie calls these “drum sticks”). She says that there are other things that make other sounds like something called “cymbals” that are big disks and the “Hi-Hat” which is a type of cymbal where two can hit together softly or louder depending on how hard your hit the pedal. Addie likes to hit the pedal pretty hard.
When Addie goes to her lessons, I hear lots of big crashing and booming sounds through the wall. Addie says that she like the bass drum the best because it makes a lower and louder echoing sound. I hear that one in my feet when she hits it, so I know which one she is talking about, and I think that it is my favorite, too.
We aren’t allowed to see her play because Mama says it would “distract” her, meaning that she would look at us instead of her drums. In order to learn anything, Mama says, especially how to play music, you need to focus really, really hard and practice the same things over and over and over again.
Addie loves the drums, and she sits with her practice pad drumming and drumming and drumming. She hits her legs to music, she hits the back of the seat, she hits the side of my seat—anything where she can make “beats.” Mama says that if she keeps it up they will get her a drum set, and then she says that the house will get really loud, but that it is okay because it is full of music. I love music, so I won’t mind.
I got to hit drums too at the music store when we were getting Addie’s sticks and her practice pad. It was the kind of drum that didn’t need sticks, just your hands. Daddy called them, “congo drums”. They were soft but tight against my hands and they made a pretty sound when I hit them. Maybe one day, when I am bigger and my hands work better, I can play the drums like my sister. She’s just learning, but I bet she’ll be a rock star by the time that I am big like her, and she can teach me to be one too.
I love all of my family, but two of my very favorite people in the entire world are my sisters. Mama tells me that I am a little girl just like them but smaller, and I know that they are both people that I should look up to and to learn from as I get bigger. I feel a sense of peace and calm when my sisters are around and loving me or playing with me. If I touch them, especially if we are sleepy, I feel like I am safe.
My big, big sister Lilli is a born actress and artist. She can become any type of person that she wants to, she can sing at the top of her lungs, and she can write and draw. She is born to be a person that commands attention from others, and she is a born leader. I know that I can learn to be in charge when I need to from her, and I have already found my own singing voice. I have also learned to be assertive (Mama says that I am a bit stubborn like Daddy can be) when I need to be, too.
My big sister Addie is a bundle of light and smiles, and when she is around I can’t help but giggle at her. She loves to play and imagine, and she loves to be a little bit of everywhere all at once. She is learning the drums, and her voice can be just as loud as the drum sounds when she wants them to be. Mama says that she doesn’t have volume control of her voice yet. I understand that because I can be really, really loud when I want attention. Overall, Addie is a big ball of happy and energy, and I love to be around her.
Both of them together, even though they fight sometimes, are teaching me the meaning of sisterhood and love. They love each other fiercely, and I see them play and laugh and help each other. I see Lilli teach Addie how to do new things, and I see Addie give Lilli the reminder that she still needs to play even though she is getting bigger. I know that there is something special about the bond between girls that are growing up together, and I know that there is something wonderful about having sisters that love you and support you. Together we are three peas in a pod, sisters standing up strongly and ready to take on the world.