Finally Dancing

By Sioux Roslawski

Finally Dancing

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t go to high school during the ’60s hippie era. If I had, I could have rhythmically swayed and leisurely twirled in a psychedelic haze. I would have been able to stand in place and wave my arms like I was making a slow motion snow angel. That I could have done. No, sadly, when I was in high school, disco reigned. And without an ounce of coordination and not a rhythmic bone in my body, I was doomed to sit on the sidelines and watch my friends hustle and bump and Saturday Night Fever their way across the dance floor.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love the music. I did. It pulsated through my veins, it transformed my mood and the myriad of layers – the thump of the percussion, the blare of the brass, the guitar riffs – it was like I was being bathed in the music. And yet I was too afraid to dance a single step.

Throughout high school and for most of my adult life, I danced, but only in my kitchen or my car. When a great song would come on the radio, and I was all by myself doing the dishes, in my unique, herky-jerky style, I danced across the tile floor. Driving to work, if an old disco or funk song came at me from out of the dashboard, my rear end bumped and shifted in my seat, my fingers tapped on the steering wheel to the beat and my shoulders would shake and twist.

When my daughter and later, my son, were toddlers, I loosened up my inhibitions enough to dance with my babies. I’d hoist them up, cradle their diapered bottom in one hand and cup my other hand across their back, and I’d waltz and dip them. We became one. I abandoned my concerns about my lack of gracefulness and surrendered to spontaneity because I adored my children and loved dancing with them.

As they grew, eventually marching band ruled our lives for four years. Then, I danced in the stands overlooking football fields. My son was a musician and the soloist for the marching band shows. Each time he stood in the middle of the field and blasted the first notes from his trumpet, I felt like he was playing the soundtrack for my life as a parent. The dozens of drums would start pounding out the beat and no matter how unsure of myself I felt about my ability to move to music, I was too filled with pride to not dance…a little. All those years of private music lessons, all the competitions and rehearsals and concerts – it all climaxed on those football fields and not even my clumsy arms and legs could be subdued when my son was performing.

For decades I had allowed my embarrassment to prevent me from loosening up…until my granddaughter came along.

Last Christmas I spent a week with my six-year old sweetheart. One afternoon she convinced her mother to put in one of her dancing video games. The songs were from Disney movies. There was a different choreographed routine for each song and the object was to get points by following the routine as closely as possible. I was going to enjoy this…as I sat on the chair and watched Riley, her mom and her other grandma dance through the first number.

For the first number, that was fine. But then she skipped over to where I was sitting, grabbed my hands in hers and said, “Grammy, let’s dance.” With those three words, my mortification melted – a little.

Reluctantly I stood up and hugged a corner of the living room. At first, I moved my arms as little as possible while my feet remained rooted in the carpeting. Soon, however, my granddaughter’s joy was contagious. As she moved frenetically through the choreography, her grin never left her face. Shifting from a hip-hop routine to a line dance didn’t faze her in the least. When she got too crazy with her kicks and one of her shoes flew off, she didn’t miss a beat. And I had to admit it – no one was paying too much attention to me because none of us were professional dancers. We were all having fun, sometimes tripping over our own feet, and laughing – laughing at ourselves and laughing with each other.

Hip hopping, be bopping and finally letting go…Why did I wait so long to let loose?

About this writer

  • Sioux Roslawski Sioux Roslawski was the chosen child of Carol Kortjohn. She is the mother of two, and is Riley’s Grammy. Her stories can be found in 13 Chicken Soup for the Soul collections, along with a few other anthologies. More of her meanderings can be found at http://siouxspage.blogspot.com.

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20 Responses to “Finally Dancing”

  1. Sioux, your story is wonderful. Isn’t it something how grand children can move us in ways we never expected? Now that you’re grooving…don’t stop!

  2. Rose Ann says:

    It’s more than just dancing– it’s pure joy for a special time in life. Enjoy it! Lovely story.

  3. Love this, Sioux. As you know, I’m not a Grammy yet *sigh* but one of these days I will be and I hope to abandon my inhibitions just as you did. I used to dance with my kids, too, when they were too young to be judgmental. LOL These days I chair dance. But one of these days . . .

  4. Mama Zen says:

    This is marvelous, Sioux!

  5. Liz B says:

    Sioux, what a wonderful story! I wanted to be a professional dancer until I found out I couldn’t live on the wages… I danced with my babies, too, and relished every minute. I just danced with my 22 year old at a wedding this passed weekend! Thanks for sharing your gift of writing!

    • Sioux says:

      Liz–Dancing with one of your “babies” at their wedding…I am going to have to wait for a while for that to happen. What a wonderful experience that must have been.

  6. Pat says:

    Everyone says being a grandma allows you to enjoy parenting without the pressure. Your story is the perfect illustration of that principle!

  7. Val says:

    You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching. Your performance is not going on your permanent record. Let ‘er rip! Be the dancing granny.

  8. I loved to dance with my kids – in the aisles of the grocery store! They pretended to be mortified but now admit to enjoying the memories. I’d still do it if we ever shopped together. Being shy just isn’t worth the cost of all you miss.

  9. Great article Sioux… can so relate having two left feet!

  10. Tammy says:

    Out of the feet of babes, too. Inspiring story, and so beautifully told.

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