Jingle Bells, Batman smells...Robin laid an egg...The Bat mobile lost its wheel...
and the Joker got away... HEY!
I would sing that song while hysterically laughing from the back seat of our maroon station wagon as a child. It bringing a comic relief to whatever tension was condensed within the windows and confines of our locked vehicle. Especially during the holidays.
My mother smiling and then sweetly recommended we sing a carol after repeating my version of the Christmas classic about 15 times. Exposing my age and maturity level until I finally agreed to sing another.
Her favorite, as well as mine was Silent night, Holy Night. The exact opposite of my light hearted, catchy tune. The ying to my "Batman smells" yang. Even from a young age appreciating the beauty and emotional magic of the majestic lyrics. The spirit of the holiday time and that glorious night. The beauty of mother and child, the star lit night. Holy the infant so cherished. All is calm. All is bright.
The words so poetic. So meaningful. So powerful.
Thinking of my mother every time I hear either song. Her smile and laughter at first. Her emotion and warmth with the second.
Years later, I found myself at the University of Southern California. A school my mother hoped I would someday attend. A promise I made to her on her death bed. Before the foundation she once built crumbled. Before who I was shattered. Leaving me in unknown times, with an unknown future.
In my minds eyes, my acceptance into this college representing a return to a once normal. The prestige of the campus and students being a different world from which I came. Coming from a land of drug addicts and the streets. I saw the glaring difference between survival and privilege. I saw the beauty of some is innate and I saw it was absent in others. I saw some weren't empathetic. Some weren't ready. Some never would be. Some would never see a reason to be. Some would never have to.
At Christmas time, there was a group of boys singing, "Chet's nuts roasting on an open fire."
I understood why they thought it was so funny, but I didn't find it that way. To this day, years later, as we are all parents and professionals, I see their comments and posts on facebook about "Chet's nuts". I see their cry laughing emojis and picture how hysterical they found it back when we were young. Picturing their high fives and fraternity style laughs as they sing. This becoming another song I think of now at the holidays. Noticing the vast difference and odd comparison between the three songs.
Now, in the middle of a pandemic, quarantining once again with my 8 year old son. Feeling the reminiscent moment of existing in the unknown. At the same time living in the nostalgia of the holidays. Sitting in front of our rainbow lit Christmas tree with egg nog in our mugs, looking at the family ornaments that hang on our tree. He turns to me with a smile and begins singing,
"Jingle Bells, Batman smells...Robin laid an egg...the Bat mobile lost its wheel... and the Joker ran away. HEY!
He bursts into hysterical laughter that becomes contagious at the same time reminiscent. The joy of him consuming me. A regular, normal boy in an unprecedented time. The odd relief I felt in his laughter. The beauty and warmth I feel as now being the mother on the receiving end of such a ballad. The beauty of the humor wrapped in the magic of Christmas. Seeing the connection in our personalities. A break from the heavy. Wondering if that is exactly what "Chet's nuts" do. Noticing the magic in this moment becoming a memory. The spirit of the holiday time and this glorious night. While all was calm. All was bright. Mother and child. And this star lit night.
He begins singing the song again. This time, I join along with him.
Jingle Bells, Batman smells... Robin laid an egg...