Eye of the Tiger is playing on the radio as I sit here writing this. This song is what my husband calls a “blast from the past” and we both turn it up when it surprises us on the iPod or the car stereo. He waits for me to put up my boxing hands and punch the air ceremoniously, which I do every single time, no matter my mood or disposition.
“This song makes me want to kick someone’s ass.” I say it every time out of habit, our own inside joke, and we laugh because the thought of me kicking anyone’s ass is completely out of character( although my husband would probably tell you that depending on my mood or disposition I’m a formidable adversary.)
Our sons, especially Jacob, have begun a love affair with the Rocky movies. Which is what I thought of when the song came on this morning when I could not lift my hands into boxing pose because I am sitting at my desk in high heeled shoes in a black baby doll dress. But most importantly I am working in a corporate office and doing it would be odd. I want to do it, want to punch the air or something else, someone else perhaps, to release the sadness and rage that has been building up behind my non- confrontational facade of the past few years.
Jacob is an actor, pure and simple. When he wasn’t doing so well on the soccer field a few weeks ago (staring off into space, not being aggressive with the ball, more worried about grass stains on his shorts instead of the game) he came off the field, dejected. I pulled him aside, stroked his hair back and kissed his temple. “I think you need to just pretend you’re a soccer player, buddy.” He didn’t say a word; he just looked up at me. “Yep, you need to imagine that Mrs M. (his drama teacher) has given you the role of a good soccer player and then get out there and be one.”
He nodded and kissed me, “yeah Mommy, I can pretend to be a soccer player.”
I am envious of his talent to immerse himself in a role or a life. I have seen him transform himself into Scrooge, into Harry Potter or into King Peter, Billy Joel or most recently Rocky Balboa. It becomes more than a recreation of a person. He mimics, of course he does, but he also takes on the mannerisms of every person he plays. Drawing pictures of his idols to keep their lives fresh in his mind.
I want to be someone else lately. I yearn to take on a role, like Jacob has, and change my life. Even if it’s only for an afternoon or a few moments where I can look into the mirror and hold my own eyes. My son is fearless right now, completely comfortable not only in his skin but in other people’s too.
How long has it been since I have been that unafraid or valiant?
When I told my mom about Jacob’s new obsession she immediately set to finding a silk robe for our little boxer. I call her “The Enabler” but secretly I love how she celebrates his imaginative spirit. She has procured scarves and gloves, sticks and top hats, feathered pens and every sort of magic wand to advance his varied roles. She found one of course, a short satin paisley robe that my father had worn when they were newlyweds. My dad, ever the fashionable clothes horse, of course he had a cigarette jacket and considering it hits Jacob somewhere around his ankles, I can only imagine that it stalled at mid thigh on my father.
My mom had kept that robe. She brought it to Jacob in a white grocery bag and my son hasn’t taken it off for days. He swears he needs to be naked (with only boxer shorts on) underneath it when he’s Rocky or he must be dressed in full pajamas and then the robe over it to go to sleep if he is channeling Ebenezer Scrooge. I tell him he’s going to melt, he laughs and closes his sleepy eyes, drifting into dreams convinced he is a man on the verge of redemption.
Eye of the Tiger is over; there are playing a song by Chicago. An old boyfriend passed off this song as a love poem to me when I was 16 and I unfolded those white lined pages over and over again reveling in the gift until I heard the song on the radio and realized the lyrics were my special poem.
I dream of redemption…
And realize I still desperately want to kick someone’s ass.