Sunday, December 20, 2009

Childlike Joy

I spent the last week being "dance mom extraordinaire" as my daughter's dance studio had their annual Christmas program.

I have complained about all the stress and work that goes into it from the Mom perspective in the past, and while I've made a conscious effort not to do so over the past year, I'm sure I will do it again. Yet even with the hassles of dealing with extended family coming and being present, I am finding that that matters less and less and the complaints are less frequent.

Why? Because for my child dance is just pure joy. She loves it. She always has. I remember taking her to her first dance class... she literally pushed me away, said, "Bye, Mom!" and ran in ready to go, just full of excitement and hardly able to contain herself.

Prior to that class, as well as since, her way of being in the world is to watch and take things in - to really get a feel for what is happening before joining in. Even as young as fifteen months this tendency was evident. The first time I took her to the beach she wouldn't put her feet on the sand. I tried setting her down and her feet raised up like a marionette. We did this a few times and it was amusing - lower her down and her feet came up. With a little bit of difficulty not to mention frustration, since I really wanted to enjoy the beach myself, I somehow managed to spread a beach towel on the white sand and she and I sat down together. How long we sat there, I do not know. I reached out and started playing with the sand while she looked around at her sister and her dad heading to the water. I'm sure I talked about what was around her, but knew not to push her. If we sat there for awhile that was ok.

After awhile, she stood up on the beach towel, then sat back down in my lap. She stood up again, took a tentative step on the sand, then sat back down next to me, placing her hand on my leg. A few minutes later, she did it again.

Finally, she stood up, took a step out on the sand and then took off towards the water. I remember her loving it, but she had to have time to process all that was around her before she could be comfortable participating.

Dance is truly the only thing in her life that I can say she has approached without hesitation.

Yes, watching her dance is something that brings out in me not just a sense of pride, but a sense of joy. Joy just emanates from her little body and one just can't help but watch her. I don't think I say that as her mom, although that role may color my view of her. All the hassle around the week is irrelevant, because her joy just fills the room. Nothing else matters.

Indeed, nothing else matters.

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