The show ended every day as calmly and warmly as it began with a personal touch from Miss Nancy. She would wander off casually toward the side of the set and grab her magic, psychedelic mirror and start to sing The Magic Mirror song.
She would hold up an opaque mirror and talk from behind it. “Romper Bomper Stomper Boo, tell me, tell me, tell me who…. Magid mirror tell me today, did all my friends have fun at play?” The screen would go into elliptical swirls and twirls of rainbow colors like Miss Nancy was on an acid trip, but when it faded back to her the opaque mirror part was gone and we were looking into Miss Nancy’s face and she would say the names of the kids she was seeing through her magic mirror.
She’d say “I see Judy, Ricky, Caroline and I see Mark this morning and Amanda and Timmy and on and on and on….” But she never said my name, and my name’s not that unique. She tried to cover the omission with “And of course I see you too, and tomorrow I’ll be looking for you tomorrow morning in the Romper Room School.” I don’t know; maybe I just missed it, but even on my Special Day, as she used to call a kid’s birthday, she didn’t say ‘And I see Danny!’
Mom asked quite often, “Did she say your name today Danny?” and I’d always answer with a ‘No’. “Well, maybe tomorrow she will; you’ll see,” mom would say in encouragement (mom was a Do Bee kind of mom). And I’d think ‘Hey, yea, maybe she will say my name tomorrow. It could happen!’ And I’d be hooked and wait the twenty-three and a half hours hoping.
Mom had a way of turning disappointments into hopes, she made my world my world, she was my world – that’s what moms do for their toddlers. And all she asked was that I say please and thank you, and eventually to distinguish between can and may (“Can addresses ability, may speaks to permission.
So you should have said, ‘May I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch?’ not ‘Can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch?’ ‘). She wiped my nose, combed my hair, tucked-in my shirt, tied my shoes, did my laundry, cleaned my room, made my bed, wiped my nose, washed my face, cleaned-out my ears, combed my hair, always found Bunny when I mislaid him, encouraged me, scolded me, touched me, hugged me, held my hand, took me everywhere with her – she loved me, and I loved her. “Mom?” “Yes, Danny?” “Mom, I love you,” and she’d blush, stop what she was doing, and always respond, “Oh Danny, I love you too!” I loved her so much that I hated everyone else, even dad. It’s really quite normal for young kids to live with a zero-sum take on life – that if you love something so much, it must mean you hate everything else since you’ve only got 100% of everything, like love, and since mom got all 100% (it would have been an insult not to reciprocate her obvious 100% love for me with, say, 63% for her and 37% for dad). “Danny, you don’t hate your dad! That’s really not a nice thing to say.” “‘But I love you mom!?” was my only response – it’s every toddler’s only response, that is until we learn that we can love more than one thing at a time and are better because of it.
It’s all about figuring out what makes my mom, my mom. Now she gave birth to me, and that happened because of something she did with dad, but I had to learn that mom and dad were one thing – married.
Mom and dad married was like peanut butter and jelly on a sandwich was just one thing (who eats peanut butter without jelly, but word has it that Elvis liked to eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches, but that’s another matter altogether). This was why mom just smiled at me when I told her I was going to marry her. I once said that I was going to marry Miss Nancy of Romper Room, but I always loved mom the best. I couldn’t marry mom, of course, but she wasn’t going to tell me that. Not even dad said more than, “Hey, that’s my wife you’re proposing to young man!” when I informed him I was going to marry her.
I didn’t really think marriage was anything more than being with someone who is very special to you so that everyone else would know that person was special to you. What that something you did to that special someone was I had no clue. Dad said he asked mom to marry him and she said yes, and it was time for me to go to bed. “Okay dad, goodnight.
I’m going to marry her, just like you.” “Okay, Danny, you do that.” As he was tucking me into bed I asked, “What does it mean to get married?” “Well, that’s a good question,” dad said, but he didn’t really answer so I pressed, “What do people do when they get married?”
Maybe I thought this angle might improve my chances for an answer, but I was wrong. “Well, after the ceremony, there is a party called a reception where everyone eats dinner and dances and celebrates with the married couple.” “Then what?” I said. “Well, then the couple goes on a honeymoon.” “And?” “And what, Danny?” dad responded. “And, what’s a honeymoon?” “Well,” dad paused, again, “a honeymoon is kind of like a vacation for the couple and…they start their marriage together, and….” And dad stopped there. “Okay, thanks dad. Goodnight.”
And I went to sleep and dad seemed relieved at the end of the questions, but I never married mom.
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