My first experience slow-dancing was traumatic.
Picture a teenage girl going to a Mormon youth dance. She misses her mom who’s in the hospital. It’s a weekend night. Her friend’s name is Michelle.
Platform shoes, lip gloss, a tender heart, polyester
Abba music playing in the background
This Catholic girl alight with anticipation
Who will pick me? Am I pretty? Has that pimple disappeared? More importantly, will there be enough disco music???
Then the creepiest, dweebiest guy asks me to dance. How can I say no? He isn’t cute but he’s the only one to approach.
Pressing me close to him, he slowly removes his glasses and whispers…
“I don’t need these to see you, now do I?”
Every shameful feeling a teenage girl can experience joined me on the dance floor that night
Clumsy feet step all over his until I can’t take it anymore.
I run into the girl’s bathroom, lock the door.
And upon my return home, immediately shower to remove that guy from my person.
Yeah, I’d say that qualifies as a traumatic slow-dancing event, wouldn’t you?
Since then, my slow-dancing skills haven’t improved.
Foot surgeries, knee problems, my list of excuses will impress.
It’s a standing joke with the Hubs. I can’t slow-dance, I can’t follow his lead. It’s so silly when I even try.
But more than three decades later, there’s another guy who wants to dance with me.
My middle olive shoot – Aaron
On his wedding day no less…
Did he not remember the legendary tale? I mean, I only talk about it a couple of times a year. I plead with Aaron to not humiliate me by forcing me to slow-dance in front of people. Can’t we just leave it alone?
I send him videos of moms choreographing wedding dances with their sons. Don’t they look amazing? Doesn’t that look like fun? I think we should do that, don’t you? Heck, I even work with an up and coming dj on a dance mix.
The kid won’t budge.
He wants to dance with his mama.
Tears flow after the father/daughter dance. I know I’m next.
“Aaron, I can’t do this.”
“I’m crying. I’ll look stupid. People will laugh. I will ugly cry.”
“No, Mama, you can do this.”
He takes my hand and leads me to the dance floor.
Suddenly I don’t care. I almost feel pretty. I know I feel proud.
I’m in my son’s arms.
My charming, safe and oh so handsome child. He’s a married man. Sweet melodies serenade my heart-strings.
We step all over each other’s feet.
I twirl him to lighten the mood.
He spins me around. We look ridiculous. At one point, we miss intersecting after a twirl.
It’s a hot mess.
But I cry and look deep into his eyes. I caress his soft cheeks just like I did when he was a baby.
“Oh Aaron, I love you so much.”
“I love you too, Mama.”
And then it’s over.
The music stops.
I leave the dance floor glad. Really super duper glad.
I nearly passed up this imperfect moment.
I look at the pictures afterward and reflect.
I almost got in the way. Pride and self-consciousness, as clumsy as my feet trying to move at a gentle speed, nearly ruined the moment.
But the sun had streamed on the spot where we danced. We were unaware at the time. I had no idea. Beholding the images now, God’s hand held us together.
Quite simply, despite our lack of skill, we were GRACE-ful. Not our feet but our hearts.
I feel resplendent. I feel healed. I’ve been dancing on air ever since.
Here’s my message to you moms – don’t pass up moments due to insecurity. Those times don’t come around every day.
And to you sons – encourage your sweet mothers. Take us by the hand. We get scared too. Tell us you love us and guide us to the adventure. You will never regret it.