“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.”
(William W. Purkey)
I have never been comfortable dancing. I think it happened at some point when I was in college . . . on a date. The young lady I had taken out that particularly evening wanted to go dancing, so we went out dancing. Well, at least that is what I thought we were going to do . . . instead it became a critique of my inability to dance. I did this wrong . . . I did that wrong . . . I was too rigid . . . I wasn’t loose enough . . . I looked foolish. Needless to say, that was our last date. But, sadly, the damage had been done. What little comfort I had for dancing (along with my ego) was dashed upon the dancing floor. I believed her.
Ever since then I avoid dancing like the plague. I jokingly say that I cannot dance until I have a few beers, but that is actually the truth. I have pretty much limited my dancing to required events in our family’s life . . . mainly having to do the “father/daughter” dance at my daughter’s wedding. Talk about pressure! Having to dance in front of all of those people! Just me and her . . . let’s just say, I survived . . . and, I did it with only one beer in me! The daughter did not care how well I danced . . . she loves me and it was a “father/daughter” moment.
The truth of the matter is . . . I do like to dance . . . only I like to dance when no one is watching. But, that is changing. That is changing thanks to my 14-month old granddaughter . . . she is a tiny dancer. By the time that that little itty bitty girl could move, she has grooved to the music. Dancing is in her blood . . . and, it does not matter what the music is . . . this little girl likes to boogie. She has danced with belly dancers at the state fair . . . gotten down to the polka at the local town celebration . . . she bops with whatever music is playing . . . and, she loves it.
I love watching my granddaughter dance. There is great joy in her movement . . . deep feeling in her concentration . . . and, there is always that smile. Her smile can melt ice. She does not care if anyone sees her. She does not care if she has rhythm. She does not care whether or not she is getting the steps down. She does not care if anyone criticizes her. She just likes to dance. Dancing makes her happy. Her dancing makes me happy . . .
. . . in fact, it inspires me. Makes me want to get up and boogie with her. So, we do. Whenever we have the chance, the tiny dancer and I dance. Yeah, the family laughs . . . but, so do we . . . the granddaughter and I . . . we laugh too. We laugh for the joy . . . we laugh for the love . . . we laugh because for a moment we get lost in one another . . . creating whatever memories we can. We live like it is heaven on earth.
Years from now, I hope that I get that opportunity to dance one more time, just as I did with my granddaughter’s mother, at her wedding. That we get to close our eyes, get lost in the music, get lost in one another, and dance . . . dance as if no one is watching . . . like we will never be hurt . . . lost in the joy no matter how silly we look to anyone else. This tiny dancer has given me joy . . . great joy. It feels right. It feels good. To the tiny dancer, I say, “Thank you!!”