My daughters danced in the kitchen while I washed dishes. Melisandra, who’s nine, led Corrigan, who’s five, around the lineoleum with Gloriana singing “Wild at Heart” in the background. They moved together like a couple in a ballroom dancing class. They were doing the box step, something neither kid would’ve learned from my hubby or me. I asked, “How do you know about the box step?”
Melisandra said, “From Fetch and Curious George.” Two shows on PBS. I was glad to hear those shows were still on her radar. On most days, she watches Austin and Ally or Disney movies like Teen Beach Movie.
When I’m stuck doing dishes, I like turning up the tunes and shaking my hips while scrubbing plates and pans. My daughters often request Taylor Swift songs and dance with me, too. I like making music part of their day. Melisandra likes to think of herself as a songwriter. She writes lyrics and asks to make music videos.
Later at bedtime, I heard Melisandra singing one of her songs in the bathroom. The melody had an upbeat rhythm, something similar to a Taylor Swift song like “You Belong To Me” or “Love Story.” I found it interesting that she was imitating music we play a lot around here. I imagined she hears an acoustic guitar in her mind when she sings.
“I want you,” she sang (and the guitar strummed and violin played a counter melody). “And like a ghost, I’m gonna take your spirit away. I am gonna find you. And like a vampire I’m going to take your blood. I want you.”
I stood down the hall in my bedroom, sorting socks, listening, and wondering where the heck she learned about vampires? I know she’s read a book or two with vampires in it. But these were corny chapter books for tweens, not anything close to an Anne Rice novel. I wasn’t worried, really, about the lyrics. Just surprised to hear that images of vampires and ghosts were meandering about in my kid’s brain.
I put clean socks in Melisandra’s drawer and noted, once again, the surprise I feel when I hear my kids carry information in their noggin they didn’t get from me. It is a nudge, a reminder. They are mine, and yet, they are not. I am the parent but they will one day be a force, dancing and singing on their own.