The sun is shining. “Let’s go out for a walk,” I suggest.
“Don’t wanna go out, mum!” my older daughter insists.
“We can go and see the chickens, and the pigs,” I wheedle.
“Don’t wanna go!” The tone is being ramped up. I cannot face another tantrum. We have been through too many these past few days. My nerves are raw. But still we have been cooped up in the house for weeks with illness. I need to get some exercise. I need to move my body, get my heart pumping, tone my muscles, feel alive. And then the penny drops. I go over to the stereo in the children’s room. It is used solely for story tapes and lullabies. I put on Bruce Springstein’s glorious folksy Seeger Sessions. I love this CD. My kids LOVE this CD. It just HAS to be danced to.
And I start to dance. Awkwardly at first, self conscious of the audience of two little girls, a creaky mama body that doesn’t move quite as easily as it used to, and a pair of enormous breasts that move too independently for my liking. I keep glancing out the window to see if the neighbours are watching. I start with some line dancing. The Charleston. Then a little belly dancing. Then some aerobics. All the dances and moves from different times in my life. And then full flung mad skipping, whirling and swirling until my heart is racing. The baby is jigging up and down on her bum, clapping in delight. I clap back and wave my arms in the air like I just don’t care. My two-year-old, who has refused to change her clothes/pajamas for three days, grabs her dress off the shelf – in her eyes you HAVE to wear a dress for dancing. She has seen mama dancing enough times to know that skirts (which this mama lives in) swirl wonderfully out when dancing.
And so we dance together, whirling and spinning, and swinging her and flying her onto the bed. Her eyes sparkle with delight, cheeks flushed. “Again, mama, again!” Oh how I loved that too when I was a little girl, my father would put on his rock and roll records and we would jive and then he would fly me through the air. The feeling of freedom from gravity. Breathless exhilaration. Pure physical joy. Again again!
We dance with teddies, run in circles, freeze between songs, bring out the tambourines, until at last we collapse on the bed, our hearts racing, grins on our sweaty faces. Happy dancing girls!