One Christmas, when I was about 4 or 5 I looked up from my Sears' catalog and began a passionate campaign for the object of my desire. I said to my parents, "I want a busy buzz buzz, I want a busy buzz buzz, I want a busy buzz buzz... Is that a toy?" I may not have known what it was, but I knew I wanted it.
That is exactly where I am today. I have been saying the middle aged version of that for several years now. I do want a busy buzz buzz even if it is not a toy. I was incredibly wise at 4 or 5. Somehow then, like now I suspected that what was presented to me in the marketing of that catalog, what sparked such intense passion in me, might actually not be a toy. Might be too old for me. Might be dangerous for someone in my stage of life. I wanted it, whatever it was, and I wanted the grown ups to confirm that it was OK to want it. That is exactly how I feel now.
I got a busy buzz buzz that year. I think I remember what it looked like. I think it was a red pen with a bee face that had a battery and made squiggled lines. You can find them at Big Lots but they aren't shaped like bees nor called by that name. I bought them for my kids this year, even though they did not want them. They might have given it 5 minutes of play time before they moved on to the busy buzz buzz of their soul. One man's busy is another man's buzz buzz.
I don't have my busy buzz buzz now. It did not significantly change my life. It might have even led me astray. It was not anatomically correct because the pointy "stinger" part came out of its face as I remember. I think I remember that because of that I avoided the wrong end of a bee and got stung once or twice. I'm not sure about that though. Memories are like that, just ask James Frey.
What I do know is that as insecure as I am about this stage in my life, as insecure as I feel about getting a chance to pursue some of the things I think I want, whether I get them or not, chances are they will not be what I think they are nor do what I think they'll do. AND in 40 years if I am blessed to be alive and to have enough memory left to recall them, I won't remember which end of the thing had the stinger (though everything does have a stinger on some end or another). Chances are, even if whatever it is I want so desperately comes to me, it will blend into all the things that surround it. So that like my busy buzz buzz, it will have to compete with other memories of that Christmas, like how comfortable my light blue cat pajamas were and how it felt to not be allowed to eat the gum drops on the gingerbread house my sister was making. These memories are just as clear and significant as my memory of the busy buzz buzz.
So...should I get out of my comfortable cat pajamas and pursue my busy buzz buzz or just use the authority I now have as an adult to eat a bag of gum drops? That really is the deeper question and the point of this story.
Will it matter whatever I decide? If it does, will I remember that it mattered? If not I, then will my kids remember that it mattered (or even share my opinion about what mattered?) From what I understand if I live long enough, the memories that will remain sharpest have already happened. So that even if I become the next Oprah I won't remember the career equivalent of her embarrassment over James Frey's lack of memory, but I will remember that my mom had little felt birds in little gold plastic bird cages all over our Christmas tree. I will remember my dad reading us a story while all three kids could still fit on his lap and how it felt to stroke his red corduroy shirt while he was reading. And I will remember the music that was as much a part of my childhood as the ticking of the clock.
Most of all I will remember how it felt to be allowed to want a busy buzz buzz which is almost better than getting one. No matter what I do with my own busy buzz buzz from this point on, I hope I can still remember that I am helping to create my children's long term memories and I hope I can also remember to honor my children's right to pursue their busy buzz buzz even if part of the way I do so is by modeling my own pursuit. Which I plan to do just as soon as I find that grown up to tell me it will be OK.