I used to dance with my kids. It is probably one of my favourite “living life our way” kind of memories. I loved how all the kids would join into the movement – one on my hip, another swaying about my knees, others twirling in their own little space … and the space was limited but we would all spin, tap, wave and bob our heads regardless of the laundry piles or stacks of books. We danced carefree. We danced together for no other reason than it was fun, it was a happy thing and we partook in it together.
It was beauty in motion.
But then we stopped dancing.
Honestly, I stopped dancing. And because I stopped – they stopped.
I stopped because I became self-conscious that the kids were watching. When they were younger, they didn’t questions or wonder or even really think about why we were dancing. We simply danced.
But I saw in their eyes both questions and wonderings and I worried that it was silly and trivial and ridiculous to dance with them anymore. What didn’t occur to me was that this processing wasn’t a bad thing, that they were building an understanding of joy and freedom along with an appreciation for the importance of such activities.
But out of fear of being seen “foolish” in front of my children, I put aside what seemed “childish.” Consequentially, I fear, I taught them a lesson I find fundamentally abhorrent. I fear I taught them to distrust the joy which can be found in the most “foolish” and “childish” of places – a joy connected to the root of all joy. I let fear creep into our home, I let fear take away beauty. This crushes me.
But then I found dance and my joy in it again. The thing with joy is it isn’t content to stay small, to stay singular.
Dancing made me brave, it infused me with a tiny resistance to fear – and so I took a risk. I turned their music way up – because every good hippie child knows – loud music moves through you, rumbles in your feet, sets your knees to bouncing. It is hard to resist loud bouncy music.
I started dancing about in my living room… knowing they would see …knowing they would wonder…would likely raise an eyebrow. Regardless, I knew they would come. And I waited. I hoped. I was careful not to look back directly – I would let them come like timid deer to the water.
… And they did – with their long lean bodies, their hungry eyes. They watched, they wondered … and eventually they danced. Shy and almost out of my sight, out on the edge of my circle, they twirled, they spun on their feet, they danced. My heart swelled with gratitude – thankful that despite the hiatus they remembered, grateful that fear could not hide what was and is beautiful.
I will continue to dance in my living room because it makes me happy; because they are still watching; and because I will not let fear dissuade me from what is good, and right and lovely.