Dancing all our troubles away
It seemed too good to be true.
The afternoon had been peaceful and relaxing, and all the worries from the day were left where they started in the first place.
My husband Jason and our son James were outside, throwing the baseball around. Our daughter Elsie was watching her favorite cartoon, complete with some cheese for a snack.
With our stereo playing some of my favorite songs, I calmy prepared supper in the kitchen. We were having homemade pizza that evening.
All was calm and perfect.
And then the bottom fell out.
Elsie, who discovered her juice cup was empty, came running into the kitchen at full speed. Her entire face was consumed by her tiny mouth as it let out cries of anguish.
Holding the empty cup into the air, she then dropped to her knees. A full blown tantrum began, complete with tears and quivering lips.
Apparently Elsie thinks all empty juice cups are incapable of being refilled.
At some point, I think she even forgot what she was upset about because she didn’t even want the juice anymore.
The juice wasn’t helping. The cheese snack was an insult. Nothing was controlling this state of emotion inside my tiny baby girl.
And then, my mother instincts seemed to take over.
Grabbing Elsie and heading into the dining room, we started dancing. One of my favorite songs, The Very Thought of You by Billie Holiday, was playing softly in the room. And we simply danced.
I held my little girl in my arms, with her tear-soaked cheek next to mine. And the song seemed perfect for the moment.
Elsie sniffed a few final tears, and I could feel her grip around my neck tightened. And then she gave that final “sigh.” The tantrum was over.
But I didn’t stop dancing with her. Just because the tantrum was over didn’t mean the dancing had to stop.
We ended up swaying back and forth for the remainder of the song.
She then looked at me and scooted down to the floor. All was again calm, and she went back to her cartoon. I went back to my kitchen. And the music kept playing.
I instantly went back to my own childhood when my grandmother did the same thing for me. Maw Maw and I would dance to Fats Domino in her kitchen.
She would have a wooden spoon in her hand, as if she was conducting an orchestra. I would be fluttering around her with a dish rag.
No matter what was going on in the world past her screen door...inside her kitchen, we were happy.
To this day whenever I hear Fats Domino, I smile. It takes me back to that childhood kitchen with the smell of hot gumbo, the feel of that cool breeze coming from outside, and my Maw Maw spinning me in circles.
It was a moment and place I try to return to from time to time.
Now whenever I hear that Billie Holiday tune, I will remember that one moment when my own little girl was safe in my arms. When she held me in her love, and I tried to make it all better.
It was when the world stopped for us, and we danced.