Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Dancing: Day 25 of the April Poetry Challenge

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Thursday is little girl dance night. This means a bit of organized chaos for our family.

The chaos results from the combination of the location of Princess Imagination’s dance class (the town to the north) and the start time (6:30 pm), which turns a normally 10 minute drive into 20-30 minutes, during which the kids eat sandwiches in the car because there is no way dinner is going to get itself cooked, served, and eaten before 6:00. The commute is followed by 45 minutes of Mommy trying to entertain the Gigglemonster while simultaneously maintaining polite chit chat with the Dance Dads, and then the rush back home to get the kids into bed before Mommy’s dinner-less blood sugar levels dip into irrationality territory.

Despite the rush and the questionable nutritional balance involved in this weekly ritual, it is worth it for the smile on my daughter’s face when she comes rushing out of the dance studio after her class. She isn’t just happy; she is glowing.

This is despite the fact that half of the time it’s a nagging struggle to get her changed into her jazz clothes and into the car by 6:03. Dance is not her life passion. It is not what she was put on this earth to do. She is not even especially talented. (I know its sacrilege to say that about one’s own child, but I am a firm believer in only lavishing praise that is actually deserved, and she gives me plenty of opportunities to do that in other fields of endeavor – don’t even get me started on her math!). The first few months of the class I was wondering why we were even doing the craziness of Thursday nights. Watching on the closed circuit monitor she seemed distracted and unfocused during the class. She wasn’t really picking up the choreography, her timing was about a half-step off, and she nearly fell over every time she tried to pirouette. Exactly why was I paying through the nose to put us all though this once a week?

But then she comes running out of class and there is that bright fire in her eyes, I know this is the evidence I would offer to silence skeptics who don’t believe in heaven. It is right there – in the beautiful, brown mystery of her eyes.

She doesn’t care whether she is a good dancer, or whether she is learning the routine. All she knows is that she has spent 45 minutes dancing and it is more glorious than anything on this imperfect earth should be.

So now, Thursday nights are worth it not just for her, but also for me. Because I get to watch her dance, and learn what that really means.


 

Dancing Like a Little Girl

 

I want to dance like a little girl

free and happy in my own skin,

feeling nothing but the thrill of moving

through the space that hugs me,

as air becomes my joyful dancing partner.

I want to dance like a little girl

completely unaware of watching eyes,

unconcerned with looking graceful,

or sexy,

knowing that I dance not to impress, but to express.

I want to dance like a little girl

with a rhythm that erupts out of my soul,

and with a loose relationship to beat and time,

because the music is a friend

and not a task master,

a friend to join the play, not to set rules.

I want to learn to dance like a little girl.

and once I learn to dance like this.

I want to learn to live this way as well.

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Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

3 thoughts on “Dancing: Day 25 of the April Poetry Challenge

  1. There’s something magical that transpires with little girls and dancing. The appear as angels as their little feet take wing…
    AnnMarie

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