My siblings and I were unholy terrors as children. We set the oven on fire the first time they left us alone, we conducted scientific experiments involving condiment packets in the kitchen (note: Mayo doesn't travel far, mustard and ketchup are the stains that keep on giving and relish smells really bad after 3 days), we fed the dog baked beans for the sheer joy of hearing my parents gag at 3 am, we made balcony jumping an art form and shoved beans in our ears (when bugs bunny did it, it fell out the other side. When we did it... it... did not really fall out so much as required a Dr to dig it out. Hee!). We were the Malcom in the Middle of our neighborhood.
My parents never knew what to expect from us, or which neighbor would be calling to ask if they knew what we had done in their yard that day.
But there was one hour a day that they knew where we would be. One hour a day that they didn't have to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into.
Sesame street was on and nothing short of Evel Knievel himself asking us to perform stunts with him was going to tear us away from the overstuffed couch in our living room.
Back then Big Bird was the only one who knew about Snuffleupagus. Every one else just thought he was Big Bird's imaginary friend. I would yell at the screen every time they missed him. Snuffy has a baby sister named Alice and wears 65 GGG shoes (how's that for useless trivia?).
There was Oscar, my favorite muppet, with his seemingly sour disposition but I knew better. Look how sweet he was with Slimey, his pet worm! Did you know that in the first season Oscar's fur was orange?
Cookie Monster, whose first name is actually Sid, taught me letters while The Count taught me to not be afraid of vampires. Oh, and how to count of course.
Grover, with his distinctive speech patterns and many talents fascinated me.
Bert and Ernie felt like family to us. We knew all the words to Rubber Ducky.
Bert: "Hey, you've got a banana in your ear!"
Bert: "I said, YOU'VE GOT A BANANA IN YOUR EAR!"
Ernie: "What? I can't hear you; I've got a banana in my ear!"
I remember when Mr Hooper died as it was the first time I ever experienced loss.
I remember Maria and Gordon as adults who could be trusted.
My parents took us to Sesame Place one year and it felt like Christmas. I had always wanted to live on Sesame Street and this was the next best thing. In my jewelry box on my dresser is the Big Bird pin my dad had bought for me that day. I smile every time I see it.
My parents took us to the drive-in to see Sesame Street: Follow that Bird. I cried when Big Bird ran away, afraid he'd never find his way home. But he did.
Time went on. I went to school. Summer break rolled around and suddenly I was too old and too cool to be watching Sesame Street anymore. My siblings had long since given it up.
But for those few (all too brief, according to my parents) years, my siblings and I were bonded over our love for furry muppets.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I smiled knowing that it wouldn't be long before I could introduce her to the great love of my childhood. And again, when I was pregnant with my son.
Now there are some new muppets on screen.
This season we will get to meet Abby Caddaby ( her name alone is reason to love her).
But it was Elmo, who always refers to himself in the 3rd person, who captured the heart of my son. He can spot him from 3 aisles away in a store and happily calls out for "la-la", his name for Elmo taken from his theme song. Elmo, who gave me moments like this which will make me smile when I'm old and gray. Elmo was the reason I ended up repeating his Number 5 rap in front of my son's playgroup.
Certainly there are moments where just the thought of one more minute of that high-pitched laugh will make me go bananas, but then I see my son laugh and dance.
I see him clap his hands and call out for more "Ma Noonle!", and how can I complain about his pure happiness?
Elmo is the only Muppet to ever testify before the U.S. Congress. At the request and with the assistance of Rep. Duke Cunningham, he testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education in April 2002, urging support for increased funding in music education.
Elmo is meant to be a pre-schooler. He has a pet goldfish, Dorothy, and a natural curiosity that has taken hold over my son.
It tickles me endlessly when I hear him trying to sing along or counting. I love when he chooses a book at the library, knowing it will be one from Sesame Street. I love seeing him sleeping at night, his stuff Elmo tucked under one arm.
More, I live for the moments like I witnessed this week. My 8 year old daughter helping her brother put a band-aid on his Telly beanie baby because Telly got hit on the head on the show. I see compassion.
I am in awe that on Monday, they will be kicking off their 37th season. 37 years of providing educational entertainment to children. I hope they'll be around for my grandchildren so I can share it with them too.
Sesame Street is the one hour each day that I don't have to worry about what he is getting into. It's the one hour a day I know where he will be.
I wrote this piece as part of The Lovely Mrs Davis' celebration. I hope you will click on over to her blog on Monday to get a chance at reading other's posts. And better still, write one yourself.