From Darleen: memories and tradition - a special post
Sometimes You Just Gotta Dance
It was a ritual that my 3 girls and I did. It began when the girls were still innocent and naive, never thinking anything ‘bad” could ever happen to us.
I, the mother would sit with my eyes closed, head back and feet propped on a footstool. Letting my body fully relax, and for everything be released from my mind. Life could be hectic with work and 3 preschool aged girls, getting everyone out the door before 7 am, fighting
traffic to work, getting through the work day, picking up the girls, spending time playing, making supper, bath-time, story time before bed time for the girls, and often still there would be housework to do before my own- self time for sleep and then starting the whole routine over again. Whew.
Taking a moment to relax, I would concentrate on the music and the lyrics, singing along and smiling… “Come on pretty momma, let’s get away to KoKomo”.
“Mommy, are you thinking you would like to get away?” my eldest daughter R would ask - breaking my concentration. I smile widely, and reached for 4-year-old R and her twin sisters, just barely 2 years old, still babies. “No you silly” I replied, “I would never want to get away from you!” They all smiled, as R turned and went to the CD player, changing the selection, and suddenly through the speakers a new song played…
“She drives me crazy!” ooh aah”.
The three of them squealed, “Let’s dance, mommy!” as they pulled their mother from my chair.
I smiled, and picking each of them up separately, we danced, and jumped around the room, while they sang along at the top of their lungs. When the song ended, we all collapsed on the carpeted floor, rolling around and finally stopping with all three girls hugging mommy.
My girls and me.
We were happy. We were safe. We were connected.
There was never anything to worry about, other than routine colds, sore throats or earaches.
It was mommy and her 3 sweethearts insulated form the outside world.
We continued to be our own special unit, even when 2 years down the road my marriage ended. By this time we were in a different city and different house. We still danced.
A few years later, we accepted a new man into our home. I was unsure if it was the right thing to do, however was encouraged vehemently and cheerfully by friends and family. Suddenly however, our world was turned upside down due to actions of the new man. Our contentment was completely upset, and all our values of trust shaken. We went through several months of upheaval, police visits, Family Children Services involvement, court dates, lawyers, family providing advice and judgments.
I had failed to keep my children safe.
The most important actions required were to ensure that the girls were taken care of and provided help to deal with what had happened. The new man was removed from the home. We managed through the next several months to stabilize, being once again just mommy and her girls.
We were confused, hurting, and unsure how to feel safe again.
Once again I sat in my chair waiting for the girls to get ready for their weekend visit with their father. Suddenly I was aware of M crying and telling her sisters that she was not be going with them. M wanted to stay at home with mommy. This was not an option. She was adamant that she was not going to her father’s and reacted with a violent temper tantrum. She was kicking and screaming, with tears streaming down her face. I carried her to the car, placing her seatbelt around her, hoping that she could get her settled down during the hour and half trip. Her sisters were in the backseat and tried to comfort her as well, that all would be well, and she could call mommy anytime. She would not be consoled.
About an hour into the trip, M was still sobbing, as they drove through a small village.
At that moment on the radio came the music and words “She drives me crazy. Ooh aah “…
I silently pulled the car over to the side of the road, and put the car in park.I got out and went around to the passenger’s side, taking M out of her seatbelt and lifting her out of the car. Her sisters were perplexed,
“What is she doing? “ They asked each other.
M wrapped her legs around me, and clung to her, as she liked to call it her ‘monkey hug’.
“Let’s dance!” I whispered into M’s ear as she hugged her tight.
Her sisters danced as well along with them, and sang along to the words of the song.
By the end of the song, M had relaxed, and managed a small smile.
We were still mommy and her girls, against the world.
Our life may have been shaken up, but we were still the same to each other.
We would get through things together.
Sometimes you just gotta dance!