Finding myself in the Middle East

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Hope You Dance

I was doing a quick spot check on my kids in the park--one in the little car, trying to climb on the roof, one going down the slide head first--when a friend asked me, "Do you think that you would give your life for your children?"

The one going headfirst down the slide was going a little too fast, but no emergency action was needed--"huh?"

"Like, a girl was saying yesterday, that she would totally jump into fire for her kids. And I'm not sure. I'm afraid that I would hesitate."

Wow. Fire. Your child's terrified face at the window, and you are Supermommy and you dive right into the flames, your child's name on your lips and you pull her from the gaping jaws of death. Not today, oh scythe! She is mine.

But what if you hesitate? If the flames are so high and so hot and instead you scream and scream and freeze in place?

--Coco-pop was going way too fast. I ran to the slide and stopped the impact. "Slide down!" She exclaimed, and scrambled out of my arms to do it all again.

The flames are licking at the edges of the window. Her beautiful little face shadowed, reddened, screaming--"Yes! I would. I would. I would jump into a fire for them."

But is that the point? Is that how you know that you are Mommy, that you would die for your children?

Because just today, I yelled at Princess. She can be so trying. Everything has to go her way, even to the point of being ridiculious. "Princess, go to the bathroom before we go to the park."

"No!" She answered immediately, automatically. "First, I have to--"

"Have to WHAT? Have to WHAT? We always go to the bathroom before leaving the house. Please just go to the bathroom so that we can go, before it gets too dark!"

"No!" Her will, not mine! "First I have to dance!"

And the child started dancing.

As I write this, I am smiling at the image of Princess doing a silly little flailing dance, all to avoid having MY will imposed on her. But at the time, I was furious. It was just too much. Just DO it! Just GO! So that we can GO! "Go!" I glowered. Mean Mommy! "Go to the bathroom NOW, or we are not going to the park at all!" (Because I am a glutton for punishment, and not going to the park would mean three more hours before bedtime in my little apartment, with the two of them tearing the walls down and me tearing my hair out.)

I think flames shot from my eyes, because she went. And then we went. And then my friend asked me if I would die for them, or if I would hesitate.

But it's not about dying for them, is it?

It's about taking a deep breath and counting to ten when they tell you that they need to dance first before going to the bathroom. And maybe laughing, because you know, that's really kinda funny. And pulling her into a hug and saying, yes, my love, my precious, let's dance together. Let's turn on some music and dance together because you are a bright ray of light, you are a sunbeam, you are my life. Let's dance and never stop until we fall on the floor, laughing, exhausted. Then let's make some cookies and eat them warm from the oven with some milk. Then let's dance some more.

So I don't think that we need to think about hesitating before pulling them from a burning building. I don't think that we need to worry about dying for them.

I think that we need to think about living. About loving. About dancing.


Anonymous said...

Loved this. What an intense question!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! This brought tears to my eyes...

JerusalemStoned said...


Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Please, publish this.


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