Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Dance

I described G to a friend recently saying what a smart two year old she is, already speaking in complex sentences, singing the alphabet and counting to 20.
"That's good. She will be successful in life then," he said.
"I don't care what she does as long as she's happy," I told him, stealing words and sentiments from my Mother.

G is a passionate and fiery kid. She loves to smile and laugh and wail on her drums and run down the street as fast as she can, and listen to music on 11. ("Turn it up! Turn it up!" she demands in the car.) The grl really sucks the marrow from every second she can. At the end of the day she is dirty and sweaty with strawberry and chocolate stains and chalk and bubbles all over the front of her shirt. Her hair is a wet mop on the top of her head and her legs are covered in little cuts and bruises. The grl does not live life half-assed.

I have a hard time figuring out how to respond to "How was your day?" Trying to keep two kids under two alive and occupied and engaged in a day is both the best and worst of times. There are good seconds and there are bad seconds. One moment G is belting out, "Tomorrow" and d is cooing on my lap, and the next G is wigging about the improper placement of her blanket and d is puking all over me. Some days I feel like I am running up a hill, and it's good, I like to run and all and the weather is pretty good and my knees feel ok in my news shoes and stuff, but man, I would really like to get to a little plateau to take a breath somewhere up ahead.

I wonder often what makes people happy, what drives people, what people would do if they could do absolutely anything with their days. Is it the right job? Money? Relationships? Or is it something more intangible like a sense of accomplishment, or the feeling you get from pushing yourself and getting out of your comfort zone as my cross country coach would say. Whatever it is, we all seem to need something to make us happy.

We have this toy that plays really bad, distorted sounding music that goes faster or slower depending on how fast you draw on it. It doesn't play complete songs. It just starts and stops in random places. G re- discovered the toy this evening and started dancing to it. Her dancing is made up of the most awkward looking, unnatural movements you have ever seen. It's a staccato dance that highlights her body's hinges: elbows and knees, wrists and hips all moving in various directions. And she throws her limbs into the air so hard, she throws herself off balance at times, stumbling a second before continuing her dervish. There is absolutely no grace involved. She is just so swept up by the music that she seems to have very little control over her body.

It is awesome.

G doesn't need a job, or money, or friends, or a sense of accomplishment or that feeling you get when you push yourself or any of that to feel happy. She just is. Why does it have to be more complicated than that?

Yesterday, at the end of the day, G said to no one particular, "That was a good day."
I hope my grl always dances her weird, primal, a-rhythmic dance.


  1. Maybe it is the hormonal imbalance but this one brought a tear to my eye. Great post. (lisa o)

  2. Fantastic! I think we could all learn a lot from G, and it certainly sounds like you have. Happiness can be a strange, elusive beast, but it sounds like G has the idea. I know it must be constantly exhausting, but watching your children grow and learning from them has to be one of the most profoundly beautiful and wonderous things a person could experience. I have been contemplating the nature of happiness a lot recently. I think it is--at least in part--about living as much as you can in the present moment.And children tend to be so good at that. And beyond that I think it must be a little bit different for everyone. I get a great deal of satisfaction from getting out of my comfort zone, and then coming back to it. But I know plenty of people who don't fancy this very much. I think they just need to try it more. :)