Saturday night we partied on Sesame Street. The Boy (4-year-old grandson), his mom and dad (my son), and I had a grand time.
Big Bird was there, along with Cookie Monster, Elmo, Abby, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, and Rosita. I missed Bert and Ernie and Mr. Hooper and Maria and Gordon and Bob.
Sesame Street was in its infancy when my children were young. My first-born loved it and would watch it for as many hours as his parents allowed.
For The Boy this was Sesame Street come to life. For his dad it was returning to childhood memories. Right it the middle of the evening, son leaned over and said, “I didn’t know Oscar had legs!” On the original TV show we never saw certain characters walking around. Cookie Monster was much taller than we expected. When Super Grover appeared we exchanged glances, as we both remembered how, as a young child, he was very frightened of Super Grover.
The entire evening I sat between the generations: son reliving his childhood and grandson delightedly experiencing Sesame up close and personal. The Boy thrilled at seeing Big Bird drop from an airplane and watching Cookie Monster break out of a giant chocolate chip cookie. I think that was his favorite part.
The letter of the day was C so we learned about community and caring and, of course, cookie. We all sang “C is for Cookie.” I still know every word. I wished they’d sung more of the original songs — the ones I heard in the kitchen while I was preparing dinner and the kids were in the family room watching Sesame.
I would have enjoyed the evening even if I’d gone by myself — because Sesame was such a part of our family’s life when the kids were young. I, too, have many memories of Sesame. I, too, learned to count in Spanish and became familiar with a few Spanish words. I secretly wished Mr. Hooper had a store in our neighborhood — a place the kids and I could walk to and get an occasional treat. Mr. Hooper would always be glad to see us. My kids grew up in a great neighborhood but the Sesame Street neighborhood was nearly magical.
The Boy came home with a stuffed Big Bird; they slept together that night. As they left for home the next day, we had our hugs and kisses and said our goodbyes. Big Bird and I had our own hugs. He’s real you know. Very real. How could I not hug him tight as he left to go home with The Boy? Already I miss them both.
Sometimes it’s good to revisit familiar neighborhoods and to introduce your children/grandchildren to your important childhood places. But we have to be prepared for them to be a bit different, populated by different people and places that don’t look exactly like we remembered them.
But we’ve changed too. We’re taller and more grown up and no longer scared by Super Grover. And we can enjoy the magic of Big Bird and blue fuzzy bodies that emerge from cookies with a new generation of believers.
I’m sort of wishing Big Bird and Cookie Monster would come for tea this afternoon. He would love my chocolate chip cookies.
Until next Tuesday . . . .