I originally wrote this August 9, 2008. Today I share it in honor of my Aub, who is graduating tonight. I love you baby–the time of your life has only begun!
This is for my daughter. The one who is about to be a teenager in a little over a month. Actually it’s for the three year old too, but she has a little longer before she’ll be able to understand.
Today I saw a movie based on the songs of ABBA. Now I have two things I’d love to take a survey on….the first is–If you own an Enya CD and are willing to admit it, how long can you really, really listen to it before you have to move on to something else? And the second is, do you know anyone who can listen to Dancing Queen by ABBA and not move some part of their body? If you do, I’d love to meet them because something’s just not quite right there. What an awesome song!
…..you can dance, you can shine, having the time of your life…..
Last night I told my precious beautiful first baby that she could not take her makeup bag (she’s done plays and recitals, so she’s accumulated some, in addition to all the fun samples people have given her) with her and that she would not be wearing makeup to a youth event. I could see it in her eyes, hear it in the hurt of her voice, she just doesn’t feel beautiful without the powder and liner and goop. She’s at an age where the girls are either “wearers” or “non-wearers.” Guess which one she wants to be? It broke my heart.
Watching the movie today, I saw the beauty in youth. The bounce, the giggle, the running and the passion for life that comes from wanting to see it all, to experience the world, to go forward without looking back. I also saw the beauty of “youth the sequel”—also known as “middle-aged”—the crinkles of the skin from laughter and tears of days past, the chuckles, the passion for life that comes from knowing and not knowing, from realizing that life is fleeting and that we maybe shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. The beauty that comes from embracing our flaws and imperfections and even letting them become what is most endearing about us. And we must be endearing!
I want my children to see that. I want them to look beyond what they see in the mirror or in their peer’s faces. I want them to look at their grandmother, their great aunts, their aunts, the pictures of relatives in their stiff garb in black and white photographs from days long gone and I want them to see what really belongs in a makeup bag.
Spunk, joy, passion for life, something to believe in, faith, compassion, devotion, laughter, affection, true bosom friends (as Anne of Green Gables would call them), and music.
I want all my children to dance. When no one is watching but most especially when they are. I want them to be carefree and spirited and move where the music and their hearts take them…..regardless of where the “in crowd” says they should be or go.
Many mornings I start off our day dancing to some tune or another that takes me back to more carefree days. Ironically enough, they are usually songs that go back to when I was my oldest’s age, a time that didn’t seem carefree when I was in the middle of it, but I suppose that is how most of life is. Unfortunately we don’t appreciate what we have when we have it. But I digress. One of our favorites is an early Michael Jackson tune that gets all of us tapping our toes. Every now and then, one of the girls (I’m just waiting for my little guy to learn enough words to join in with them) rolls her eyes and says, “Oh Mama.” But I find if I keep dancing around with abandon, arms flailing, singing off key, they join in and their smiles would light up a room. No amount of makeup could compare with that glow. Ever.
I suspect that “Dancing Queen” will become a new family favorite. Today when I was listening to it in the car and singing out what I believed to be the chorus, words that moved me so during the movie…..”you can dance, you can shine….” my almost teen said, “Uh, Mama, it’s jive not shine!” I listened a little closer and well, yeah, she’s right. But I still think the song is about shining. I mean, if you are dancing around, really jiving, you do shine with the joy from inside. So, my precious, shine, baby, shine—this is the time of your life!