Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Addiction

My addiction started in 1972. For years I hid this compulsion from other parents. Every morning it called to me. I loved him for what he offered. My addiction: Jim Henson and the Muppets.

As I rocked my newborn baby daughter, the song "Sunny Day" filled the room with light and lightened the cloud of depression stemming from a move away from Ohio to Wisconsin and the homesickness that greeted me daily. "Sunny Day keeping the clouds away". The birth of my daughter gave me the awareness of this man, Jim Henson, and his funny looking cast of characters. I had grown up with Kukla, Fran and Ollie and, of course, Howdy Doody', but this was different. Muppets weren't just for kids.

My day time addition turned into a once-a-week evening compulsion. I could not wait for The Muppets to appear on my TV screen. Kermit was backstage preparing for the show. Fozzy Bear showed up, rats danced across the side wings, Miss Piggy yelled from her dressing room. I was thrilled like a little kid. Another weekly addiction my husband and I never missed.

As the years rolled on, I found myself sitting with my daughter continuing this morning ritual of Sesame Street. She learned new lessons, and I learned communication. Not a bad thing for a new parent. Later, she would sit by me as I rocked her baby brother again repeating a ritual that was very important to us.

40 years. Jim Henson started a ball rolling 40 years ago that continues to gain new admirers and to teach new lessons. We learned that we are not alone, that 'it isn't easy being green'. We learned to be blind to the differences between us and others. We had adventures in spelling with Big Bird. Miss Piggy taught us that selfishness didn't always pay off. The Count taught us to count. Jim Henson taught us that learning is fun, that we belong to a world of many, that adventure is right outside of our door, that friendship like that of Bert and Ernie is precious. Most of all he taught me that moments with my children away from my worries and duties was the most precious time of the day.

I now sit with my granddaughters sharing the same as I did with their mother. We watch the Muppet movies and build a bond through laughter and song. It may not be easy being green, but it helps to know that others share our struggle.

Thank you, Jim Henson. You left us much too early but left behind a legacy for a better world.

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