I like dancing.
I’m not talking about Dancing with the Stars, merengue, salsa, ballroom nonsense…I’m talking about going to a club, and dancing like no one is watching me. Full out, lights dimmed, music thumping, beats dropping in, and sweating like I’ve just ran a marathon. That is my kind of night out. I don’t have many of those nights these days, as you can imagine.
I’m not even a good dancer. I just like good music. I like to get out on the floor and feel the music with every part of me, close my eyes, and feel the pulse of people around as they dance to the same song. To laugh…to dance with friends, sometimes even strangers…unless they’re creepy guys trying to hit on me…in that case, I huddle with my friends. Either way, there’s something freeing about a night of dancing. It makes me feel young…like a kid.
A few weeks ago I went to my son’s school assembly. It was a dance assembly where various students choreographed and danced to a song of their choosing. I don’t care what you think about Pharrell’s “Happy” song and how overplayed it might be… when you see an entire gymnasium of elementary school kids erupt into spastic gyrations of kiddo-style dancing upon hearing “Happy” blast over the PA system you develop a full appreciation for this song. When I saw this I couldn’t help but smile and feel that weird parenthood heart-wrenching, on the verge of tears feeling. Please tell me you get those feelings too sometimes?
Do you like to dance?
If you don’t like to dance now, there was a point way back, when you liked to dance.
Maybe it was when you were a baby and you danced like all babies do…that mini-sumo wrestler position, diaper butt bouncing, knees bent, big toothy grin…or maybe it was when you took ballet dancing lessons. Maybe you can’t even remember when you last danced and had fun. Or maybe it’s quite the opposite and you were just car-dancing yesterday while driving down 1-89. Either way, there’s a point where people just stop dancing. We become less like children and more like adults…more self conscious, less vulnerable. We’re worried about looking stupid or worried about what people might think of us. Walls go up and they’re really hard to break down.
Where am I going with this?
I’ve noticed a change in my son and I don’t know how to stop this change from happening. He’s becoming self-conscious. He gets embarrassed. He used to love dancing. He still loves to dance but he is more reserved. I enrolled him in hip-hop dance classes and he hates having me watch him during rehearsals. I have to watch him through a crack in the door so he won’t see me. He’s growing up. I know this is a normal progression in childhood development—I was self conscious about a lot of things as I grew up. How do I cheer him on as he grows up but encourage him to hold on to those child-like qualities?
I can’t keep him from getting older, putting up his guard, rolling his eyes at me, nor talking back…but I can encourage him to always dance.