My formative years were filled, hours of them, in unsupervised marathons in front of the television set. I had a thirst for my favorite series, The Twilight Zone, that was unquenchable.
As soon as an episode ended, I needed another. The big reveal, that moment when we got to see just what took a typical day and transported it into The Twilight Zone, left me without air. The Twilight Zone -- that break in space and time, where we either fall into something or something falls into ours, and whoooosh, we are knocked into another state of being.
I felt it every time right along with the actor on screen. The closest words to describe that split in being is this, whatever you just heard, or saw, or felt, makes you do a double take. You see it once, your head swings away in disbelief because you have to thinkthinkthink, and then you can't help it you need to look again, because: no sense no sense no sense. Your brain can't catch up to the reality of the situation. I'm not a physically demonstrative person, but if I were, then in the moment of Twilight Zone-ism you'd see me flapping my arms like my oven mitts were on fire.
I don't get it.
That is The Twilight Zone.
My children are the biggest cause of me finding myself in a double take, snapping my head back and forth like a cat following a laser pen. My children say something, do something, move their face or the light catches them in a moment where I can only open and close my mouth and stammer wha wha wha.
Of course, my three boys – some days more than others, look like me. But it's not the physical make up of who they are, nor the way they stand with one foot out like I do, not even the mannerism of how they have to smile before they begin talking in the same way I do. Those things are amazing, but they don't knock the wind out of me. It's the things they haven't seen me do, or heard me say, the ones I didn't teach them, that suspend me.
This week, when I went in to wake up my youngest, he opened his eyes and groaned, DANG. And he closed his eyes and rolled to his left side. I heard this, and stopped breathing. Because it's hard to breathe and freak out at the same time. My hairs stood on end because the word Dang is the first thing that leaves my lips every morning, but I say it to myself, alone, far away from everyone. He's never been with me at that point when night's rest ends and the day's bugles begin. And yet he just said it.
The Twilight Zone.
My middle boy will only eat one food at a time. I watch him and I know I've never talked about this, nor instructed him to do this, and there he sits: meat first, then the starch, finally, the vegetables, fruit comes last. Always in that order. We don't eat breakfast together, he has lunch at school without me, and dinner happens while I'm already at work some nights. But... the order of preference for food consumption. Identical.
Most people can motivate themselves to do something because it needs to be get gotten done do it already. Me? I need the fire of a deadline singeing my hairs. The day I read a text from my oldest in college saying “Hey. Just found something out about myself. I need to have things due for me to get things done. That's when my work is really good.” Gulp. And yes, oh yes.
AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!! Where how why do they know this???
This all brings us to the close of today's post. How many of us really know what's happening here? Do we watch and learn from our parents? Do our children imitate us, sense our actions, or are things already in our DNA? Are we all just one step away from merging into a sole being??
I don't know! I don't know! What I do know is this - my children are the most mystical, mind-blowing, arresting beings on this planet.
They are the only ones that have taken me to The Twilight Zone. But it doesn't terrify me as the show did -- although that was delicious. It's a different dimension they take me to, one where I feel a world without me at the same time as I feel the brush of my children's lives against mine.
I am reassured, through the goose bumps on my skin, about my legacy. Of course it involves food that can't touch, surly first words in the morning, and a last minute due date as the only sure way to complete a task.
What else embodies me more?
The Twilight Zone, an area of indefinite boundaries. Unable to delineate where one existence ends, and another begins.
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