Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wife Rule #26: There's Always Time for a Dance

I think it all began with the Valentine’s Sweetheart Dance of 2006.

My kids helped with the decorations, which turned out very cute and wobbly (our oldest was only six, after all). Construction paper hearts and streamers graced our basement family room. It was all for the sake of surprising Mommy, so they really put their little hearts into it. There was a plate of frosted pink sugar cookies, and raspberry lemonade in a punch bowl. I compiled a special Valentine’s Dance CD, with songs specially picked out so we could practice our ballroom dancing. There were Cha-chas, Fox Trots, Triple Swings, West-Coast Swings, Waltzes, and a whole slew of slow-dancing songs. The dance was originally just going to be a date for my wife and me, but after seeing how much work the kids had put in, we both decided to extend it for another day and make it a family affair.

We have been dancing together ever since.

The original event was a smashing success. We invited my parents over to join in the festivities, so we had eight people crowding the dance floor. Our girls both dressed in their most formal Disney Princess dress-up gowns, and two-year-old Scott insisted on clipping a tie to his red fire engine pajama shirt. Dawn, the oldest, took delight in dancing with Daddy and Grandpa, while Rachel was mostly content to twirl and spin on her own. Turbo-charged Scott spent the evening racing around the room, occasionally pausing when he felt particularly inspired to do some sort of rapid shuffling of his hands and wrists in front of his face, kind of like a hyperactive hamster grooming itself. Baby Andrew was content just to be held on the sofa, and with four adults present, he was in Holding Heaven.

The Valentine’s Dance CD quickly became the number one smash hit at our house. We have worn it out with repeat playings—at breakfast-time, lunch-time, dinner-time, play-time, car-time, anytime. Sometimes when that special music plays, dancing ensues again. We’re usually in the middle of dinner, or dishes, or something else, but why resist? Whatever chore we leave behind for a few minutes will still be there when we’re done with our dance.

Rachel seems to be the first one to request a dance with Daddy, and Dawn soon follows. They are both really quite good at it. We haven’t taught them any formal dance steps, but they instinctively know how to follow my lead, so I can twirl them around, spin them, and occasionally perform the ever-popular toss-up-and-dip routine—you know, the one that when I do it with my wife, results in her leg sticking out with her head thrown back. Ooo la la.

So I dance with my girls, and for a few golden minutes, I transform from Daddy into Prince Charming. And they transform into little miniatures of my wife: creatures of grace and beauty, with my wife’s long, golden hair twirling, with my wife’s irresistible smile grinning up at me, and with my wife’s deep blue eyes shining into mine, communicating a special joy and affection and connection that pierces me through like Cupid’s arrow.

I love every second of it.

All the fun doesn't go unnoticed by Scott, who grabs my wife’s hands and engages her in a spastic squirrel spin. Soon he is up in her arms, and they too, are dancing and spinning around, their rhythm punctuated by the occasional war-cry, followed by a soft, swift punch to her gut. It’s okay—we both know that it’s just Scott’s way of saying “I love you,” so our reminders of How to Treat a Lady are gentle and come with a side-order of smile.

Andrew’s not going to let us get away without including him either. By this time he has abandoned whatever toy vehicle he was busy crashing, and has sprinted the distance of the room at approximately 200 steps per second, his little legs a blur, with his arms up, and his trademark cry, “Hole me! Hole me! Hole me!” So my wife lets down Scott and scoops him up, and they begin their dance.

Well, if every boy in the house has had a dance with my wife but me, that’s just not right. So I let my girls go, and with a mighty cry of “ANDREW SANDWICH!!!” I wrap my arms around my little boy and his mother, squeezing the bejeebies out of them both.

Soon the song ends, and with it, so does our dance. It’s okay, because there's more where it came from. As long as there are chores to be done, there will always be more dancing to interrupt them—at least if I have my way.


Amy said...

So inspiring. I think everyone could use a good dance now and then.

LuckyMatt said...

It's really driven most by our girls, but I'm always grateful for the chance.