And the Winner Is…..

For whatever reason, this fall our whole family has watched “Dancing With the Stars” together. We recorded it and waited until Aub was home from college and could watch it together. Thank you, DWTS folks, for making the finale this week, when she was home and we could watch it LIVE–something we never do. #wedonotdocommercialswell It has been a joy for many reasons, among them the age of my children, where we all picked our favorites and enjoyed the competition, and the different personalities of the dancers and pros. But the biggest reason we have so loved this season is, I believe, this has been the kindest and most fun cast of celebrity dancers ever. They built relationships with each other that were such a joy to see. As Aub said tonight, “I want to be friends with them.”

So do I.

Since we spent time watching the finale tonight, as I muted the commercials (why can’t they make those family friendly as well?), I composed some haikus about the evening.  As for who won, it was US–my family and all who shared the journey with this fabulous group of people.

Wishing you all something joyful or a good song (might I recommend one from the Back Street Boys?) to get your feet tapping. And if you missed this season, check out some of the showstopping dances on YouTube.

425_dwts_mirror_ball

whole season of dance
laughter, tears, and all the feels
mirrorball trophy

Paris train hero
danced his way into our hearts
and learned to love dance

Back Street Boy came back
with steps both strong and graceful
he can sing AND dance

beautiful daughter
of the Crocodile Hunter
her smile is pure joy

now it is over
only memories remain
thankful for YouTube

Love to all.

 

 

pink tutus and passing years

This afternoon I sat waiting, while first one and then another of my littles attended their gymnastics classes. I was struck not for the first time by the enthusiasm of one particular little girl. These few weeks of the summer session have been her very first ballet classes, and all signs point to her future as a ballerina and someone who loves to dance. It has been a joy watching her. And that big smile on her face always melts my heart.

jumping up and down in your very first tutu
Mama stands beside you as you “perform”
for those who wait for class to begin

she reaches out and brushes a strand of hair from your forehead
smiling her tired smile that says it’s been a long day

you twirl around and around joyfully
watching makes my head spin
just as the quickly passing years do

I sit next to my girl
who is years beyond her first sweet ballet shoes
and I smile too
the weariness I feel as well
but it’s from the knowing

that the years go by too quickly
from the tiny little shoes
that can be held in one hand
to walking through the women’s section
to find the right size for the girl
almost as tall as I am

I miss the pink tutus and feet that can’t be still
and as you bounce down the hall to your classroom
I whisper to the air “dance, baby, dance”

and may you be filled with joy

always

Dancing With Myself

Cooter recently got a new CD.  He is convinced that listening to it helps him get his Math done quicker and easier.  Me, not so much, but at least he doesn’t WHINE while he’s doing his math, so hey, I’m all for it.  Studying to music is a technique his oldest sister uses, and it seems to work well for her, so I’m waiting to see how it goes.

This morning he started playing it while I was in the kitchen.  Some of the new stuff has such a great beat, you know?  So there I was, cutting up an apple and moving around the kitchen, minding my own business, when suddenly I was all “My hands are in the air like I just do not care”*–I was dancing.

Now I’m no professional and I’m not sure how much moving I would be doing outside of my own home, but y’all, the beat was good and I was in my own home.  So I put that knife down and I danced.

Our Princess still wrapped up in her favorite golden blanket, off to practice the piano, looked over at me as she passed. That look and then, “Thank goodness none of my friends can see you, or I’d be VERY embarrassed.”

Y’all.  She’s TEN.

I’m not sure, but isn’t that a little early to start this kind of attitude?

I looked at her, and then decided to forgive ignore her.  My feet had a mind of their own.

I remember my Mama dancing around her kitchen.  She loved to dance.  She could do the Twist like nobody’s business.  Seriously impressive.  I don’t remember being embarrassed, but I could be wrong.  I probably didn’t dance with her, which I regret, but I didn’t shudder at the thought.  Seeing her dance was actually a glimpse into who she was, other than Mama.  It was intriguing, like seeing her Prom picture with someone who wasn’t my Daddy.  Mama was a real life person before she became my Mama.  And even harder to process, WHILE she was my Mama.

I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around that.

But here’s the deal, my precious young’uns, I didn’t check my “Tara” card at the door of the hospital when I first became Mama.  I can be me and still be your Mama.  I can dance and still wipe your nose.  I can sing at the top of my lungs riding down the road and still get the spaghetti stain out of your clothes.  I can laugh so hard while telling a story until you can’t understand a word I’m saying and still help you with your Math.  I can cry over a movie and still cook your supper.

Just like my Mama did.

Tonight I’m thankful for the joy that music stirs up inside me and for the ability to move my feet [somewhat] in rhythm.  I love that I can still surprise my children, just as Mama did us.  She was always our rock and yet she could still surprise us in wonderful ways. I give thanks for moments with my children like we had this morning.  The one where I glimpse myself through their eyes, and it makes me giggle.  I even give thanks for the almost eye roll I got from our Princess.  I’ve been on this teenage roller coaster already, so I know to buckle up good, because for the second time, I’m in for a bumpy ride.  The reason I’m giving thanks is I know how it turns out–eventually they come around and become really awesome people.

Another preteen in the house?

Yeah, been there, done that.  Bring it.

In the meantime, I’m gonna keep on dancing.

Life’s too short not to.

Love to all.

I kept hearing this song in my head while I was writing tonight.  You’re welcome.

 

*Yes, this is a line from the movie “Home.”  It was really, really good by the way.  I highly recommend it.  Lines from it are already becoming standard around here.  Like this one.  Now y’all go dance.  

 

 

The Weight of Worries and Woes

Some days life is hard.

Not because of what has happened, but because of what could happen.

All the coulds and mights and maybes and what ifs.

Those can pile up on a soul and wear her slap out.

This soul anyway.

I’m tired, y’all.  Between a headache for days and those doggone what ifs and might could happens, I could use a break.

Or I might need a nap.

Yesterday evening I saw this quote shared on Facebook–

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:  “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing?  When did you stop being enchanted by stories?  When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence? ” –Gabrielle Roth

This gave me pause.  A long pause.  And a good cry.

Suffice to say–it’s been a while.

On most of it.

I need to let go of the fear, as best as I can, and move forward, dancing and singing and listening to great stories again.  I want to find the place where all that can happen.  And perhaps most important of all, I need to find comfort and not feel trepidation in the moments of silence.  I need to seek silence and embrace it and all that it can teach me.

It’s worth a try to attempt to find a relief from the weight of all the worries and woes of the world.

May you find a moment to dance or sing or find delight in a story and may silence find you and give you peace.

 

Love to all.

 

 

 

Tumbling, Tap, and Tears

It has been a busy week.

The littles had their last dance and gymnastics classes on Tuesday evening.  I will miss the little community we have built the past ten months among ourselves–us dance parents.  I will miss catching up on the week and visiting and just being with these good people whom I’ve grown to love as friends.  Some I will likely see in August, but some I will not.  More goodbyes.  Despite the practice, I’m not real good at those.

Thursday evening both of my littles were a part of their gymnastics program.  That afternoon we ran errands and then went over to Mama’s to eat a snack supper before it was time to go.  I picked up some food, and we sat down at her table to eat.  As we held hands, bowed our heads, and said the blessing around the table, just as we’ve done so many times with her, I had the oddest and most precious sense of her presence.  Like I haven’t felt before.  With tears in my eyes, I said Amen, and felt a peace set in as well.  She always liked the idea of and sought that–a peace that passes all understanding.

The gymnastics performance was delightful.  Such talented young people.  It was awesome to see my little guy’s eyes focused on the tween-aged boys who were phenomenal in their routine.   Our princess was excited–as she is about so many things in her world. It was her first gymnastics performance.  She loved her leotard, loved being there, loved the routine.  It was a good night, but I missed Mama.  A year ago she was with us there.  We didn’t get to have supper with her that night because there was a bad storm coming up.  The clouds and rain of this past Thursday night reminded me of the weather a year ago.  Mama had enjoyed watching the children, especially our little guy.

Last night was dress rehearsal for our Princess’ recital.  She was in her element–dressup, dance, being with friends–all things she loves.  And she loves her teacher.  So do I.   She is a dear, sweet, gracious lady who loves and dotes on each of her students.  She has especially been a blessing in the rocky journey we’ve been on the past few months. Her love and patience, her laughter and gentle ways–they’ve helped so much.

I had the privilege of helping with my girl’s class in the downstairs/backstage experience.  I was thinking about it, and I actually prefer seeing her perform from backstage.  I get to see her excited face just before she goes on, eyes huge in her face, her eager yet nervous smile, and her little hip hop step she takes as she goes on stage.  Because she does that–little hip hop steps–when she is most excited.

Dress rehearsal went smoothly.  Today was the actual performance.  I’ve thought about Mama a lot today.  We picked her up last year, and she went with us.  She, Aub, and our little guy sat together in the audience while I was backstage, and Mama was enchanted by all of the performances, but most especially by those of her little Princess.  Mama loved all children and believed that every one of them should be loved and wanted.  That’s what she did when she watched those performances last year.  Loved every one of those children.  And boy, on the way home, she smiled and laughed and said over and over how much she enjoyed going, talking about the different performances.  It was the first time since Daddy had gotten really sick that I thought we might actually make it.  Daddy had been gone just over six months by the time of the recital last year, but it felt like it had been no time.  To see her smile and hear her laugh, I was filled with hope and…..well, Hope.

So this afternoon, after our second time up the stairs for their last performance, as all of the children were gathered behind the closed curtains for the final curtain call, I thought about the past year, and how much I miss my Mama.  I miss her when I’m sad and hurting, but I also miss sharing my joys with her.  She would have been there today, no doubt.  To think about the years of her not being at things that are yet to come was almost too much to bear, and then the tears started flowing.  I guess I really should carry around my own bandana.  I couldn’t stop them.  Thank goodness for the darkness backstage.

I write this tonight for my children.  I want them to remember how much Maemae and Cap loved them, and how they loved being a part of their lives, of their stories.  They were there for the events they could get to, and they wanted to hear about the ones they couldn’t.  I want them to know that it’s okay to be sad and to cry when they are missing them.  But it’s also okay to laugh and tell funny stories about Maemae and Cap and to talk to them when they want to.   I believe they are listening.

Tonight I give thanks for the time we did have.  For the memory of Mama’s laughter and joy over little ones, especially her little ones, as she watched them do flips and tap their hearts out a year ago.  She found hope in those days too, I think.  I give thanks for the wonderful dance and gymnastics teachers and friends who have walked this journey with us as well, who have given an extra hug, sent a card, patted me on the shoulder, said a kind word, but mostly, who have loved on my babies.   That right there.  I love you all, and I cannot say thank you enough for that.  I also give thanks that my children will never have to doubt how much they were loved by Maemae and Cap, because they told them often with their words, but even more often with their actions. Mama said that a lot, “Actions speak louder than words.” And my three precious gifts, as you face your future, remember that, do what you can to let both your words and your actions show love and light in the world.  Just as your grandparents did.  You were and are loved and always will be.

My precious ones, who were so loved by their Maemae and Cap

My precious ones, who were so loved by their Maemae and Cap