Thursday, August 19, 2010

Muscle Memory...

a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task; eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort.

Whenever I see my Dad, he gives me a hug and a kiss but there's something about the way he does it that always makes me pause.

Whenever I see my Mom, her eyes widen, as if she's seeing me for the first time.

I'm always a bit standoffish.

Receiving this type of affection as a grown man, can be an uncomfortable feeling.

It feels awkward.

I would always ask myself, "why do they still greet me as if I were a child?"

Their hugs and kisses are more apropos for a toddler; a sweet, little meatball that laughs when you kiss its neck.

I'm not a toddler.

I have hair everywhere. I have bad knees and scars. My neck smells like a mixture of sweat and cologne. I don't giggle when you squeeze me. The tickle me Elmo has left the building.

Why do they kiss me like that?

My baby girl turns 8 years old today.

She wakes up and runs into our bedroom. She's looking for recognition from the first two people she sees. She wants a shower of birthday accolades to rain down on her parade. We're lucky those two people are us.

She runs to me and notices I'm naked. I'm putting on my contacts.

"Hairy butt monster!"

I chase her anyway.

She runs screaming and demands that I put on underwear.

Fair enough.

I'm presentable now.

I let her have it. I smother her with kisses and squeeze the breath out of her tiny frame with hugs; hugs that come from very deep inside of me.

She giggles like that God damn tickle me Elmo.

He's still in the building.

She's 8.

Not a toddler anymore. She even has scars; scars from all of the inevitable falls you take as a child. Her skin smells of day old kid sweat but my brain tells me it's baby powder.

The love doesn't change.

It always comes from very deep inside of me.

I'll always see the toddler. I'll always smell the baby powder.

Now I understand why my Dad gives me that kiss; why my Mom's eyes widen.

It's muscle memory.

Happy Birthday Baby. You're the best thing that has ever happened to me...