Friday, May 20, 2016

Who cries during "The Chicken Dance?"

I think we've all been there. That moment when you watch your child do something and you swell up with pride for them. I sure have. I think it's because we've watched them, held them, been on this journey with them....and then in these special moments, we see them soar. I remember the strong will with this one. She was determined to do things on her own. She wanted her own space. She hated the car with a passion. A furious, red-faced, screaming infant passion. Nothing I could do would appease her. And as frustrating, and infuriating as this was for me as a mom, I did have to begrudgingly admire her strength and her unrelenting determination that she would.not.give.in!

Anyway, in the years that have followed, I've truly been in awe of this girl's drive, her strength, and her ability to work her way towards her goal. Her dad and I have fostered this in her, but I know with all of my might that this will is all hers. She is one of the most determined, hard-working people I know. And she's 10.

She's done math problems I really don't think I could do now (and most definitely not without a calculator). She finishes her home and school work prior to a family vacation. She furiously memorizes scripts that her teacher says she can use a paper for; because she knows it will look more authentic. She loves math and science and art.

But this morning, I am teary-eyed for a different reason. My scientific, mathematical, factual little girl has really evolved over this past year. She joined the "Spirit Club" at school and has been giving speeches and presentations. And this morning, as the school's pep rally began, a Beach Boys song came on, and my little girl started dancing. She killed it! But more importantly than that, she had a HUGE smile on her face the whole time. I am so proud of her because she is constantly pushing herself, and growing and learning new things.
 

While I'm watching my kids grow up, I can't help but reflect upon my own childhood. And my life now as well. When I see her run out there and bravely dance in front of so many people, I ask myself, "would I have the courage to do that?" And I know my answer is "no." I would blame my lack of rhythm or my past failures, and watch from the sidelines, listening to the music and "dancing on the inside" all the while wishing I would dance. So I admire her, not only for her dancing skills, but also for her ability to push herself to do something that I know is hard for her. It doesn't come naturally for her. And I am proud of her, beyond words.
And as she leaves the stage, and my heart is bursting with pride for her; the teacher announces that they are going to play a song for the crowd to dance to. And then she starts playing "The Chicken Dance" song. As the kids dance and the music plays, my tears fall.

Because with that familiar tune, I remembered someone else who was driven, and (some might say) stubborn, and independent and strong-willed. And even in her 90's, this person never stopped pushing herself, and trying to learn new things. She was the best Grandma and (Great Grandma) I could have ever hoped for. And she was the first person to ever teach this same little 10 year old girl, "The Chicken Dance."
So, yes, I cried during "The Chicken Dance." I'm so thankful for the beautiful and strong people in my life: my sweet and spunky girl and my Grandma. And I'm thankful for the mysterious ways that these very special moments in life intertwine, bringing me both deep joy and deep sorrow at the same time. And mostly I'm now determined to learn from both of "my girls" to stretch myself, keep learning, and to get out there and DANCE!!!

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