I apologize for being absent the past few months, but my dance lessons have kept me on my toes. These dance lessons have been FREE! You heard me right, absolutely free, thanks to life. I have learned to waltz, tango, echappe, and even a little krumping. My technique is far from flawless, but I have survived and made it to the curtain call. Let me explain…
The school year started off smoothly, and I planned to waltz through my days with renewed energy and free time. We made the decision that I would resign from my teaching job to be more present for the kids. I would research and tour possible schools for Piper to attend next year. Sending our precious nonverbal 15 year old daughter into the den of high school hormones and the unknown is terrifying. We have stayed in our failing school district because we have been blessed with knowledgeable and caring teachers. However, high school is a whole new animal. I will share more about high school search in a future blog.
The waltz is supposed to be smooth with a unique rise and fall action. So, I embraced my life director, the Lord, and immediately tried to lead. I thought I had this all figured out. During the day, I would write, tour schools, and take Piper to doctor appointments and therapies. During the afternoon, I would prep dinner and then head off to tutor students. The tutoring money would equal my lost teaching salary. This was when I began my first dance lesson.
I thought I would be gracefully moving forward, but I had to learn the box step. In September, my mom was still recovering from her extensive neck surgery and unable to drive. So, I was her chauffer to doctor appointments and errands. She was still suffering with myoclonic jerking and in a lot of pain. During this time, my grandmother started to not feel well. One day, my mom called to ask me to pick her up and take my grandmother to the ER. We were shocked by the news that my grandmother had stage 4 cancer. My ideas of graceful smooth days gliding around freely turned into days practicing the box step over and over again. One step right, one step back, one step left, one step forward and then repeat endlessly. Every day was the same. They were filled with tears, waiting, and taking the lead for this family of strong women.
My next lesson started when my grandmother left us only 6 weeks after her diagnosis. The ballet term Echappe means slipping movement or escaping. My heart was broken that she slipped from us so quickly. She had been my support and listening ear for 46 years. I kept expecting her to pop over or give me a call to say she loved me. The lesson I learned is that in echappe, after the dancer jumps, she lands back on the ground in second position. It is okay for me to leap in sadness and grieve, but then I must bring my feet back down to be a mother, daughter, and wife. That is what my grandmother would have wanted.
We had a couple weeks to grieve and prepare for her celebration of life. I was honored to be the family representative to speak. There were so many fascinating experiences in her life that made her the strong woman everyone came to love. I was starting to enjoy this new dance of slow, slow, slow, but then my dance steps turned to quick, quick, quick. The tango was my next dance lesson.
The week after the celebration of life, my mom went in for a hip replacement surgery. Once again, she would be unable to drive and in a lot of pain. Her jerking returned, and we ended in the ER two days after being sent home, for fear there was blood clot. When we stepped into that ER, our heart beats quickened because this was the same place we sat for hours before learning of my grandmother’s cancer. My mom and I cried, laughed, and tried to regulate our emotions. In the tango, the dancers’ orientation is constantly changing. It keeps the dancers on their toes. The next few weeks, my focus was on quick, quick, quick to the new year so then we could go slow, slow, slow and start a new time of hope with no pain.
I planned to dance into 2019 with high energy and excitement. Then I realized I also needed an escape from the grief and realization that our life would never be the same. So, I started my Krumping lessons. The dance from was actually created as a faith based artform. The word K.R.U.M.P. is an acronym for Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise. Youths started krumping to express their emotions in a non-violent way. This most recent dance lesson has humbled me. I need to rely on God Almighty and not dwell in a season of anger for all that occurred in 2018. I will Krump! Actually, I will ridiculously try to Krump and continue forging ahead with excitement and full belly laughing. If you see me, ask to see my moves, and I can guarantee that your day will be filled with laughter too.
Practice hope my friends, Jen
I absolutely love that you are taking these “free” (although really very costly!) dance lessons, and sharing your learning steps along the way. Of course, I much prefer the waltz but in this season of worry and tears I will learn to KRUMP too.
Thanks for sharing. And I miss your grandmother very much also. As I told you at her memorial service, I am so thankful we got to Mt. View church in time for me to know her just a little bit!
You made me smile! Thank you. 😀
Thank you for sharing this, I miss your grandmother too, especially on Thursday and Sunday morning at church, you made me laugh but also cry. Think of you and your family often.
Thank you Ralie! Tears and laughter seem to be synonymous for me lately…
Jen, thanks for this post! I am so sorry that your grandma passed, and I certainly hope your mom is recovering. 2018 couldn’t race by fast enough for me either. I will keep you in my prayers as 2019 moves (all too quickly) into its second month. May God bless you and your family and allow you to find the perfect, grace-filled dance that is the perfect tempo. Neither too fast nor too slow, but just uptempo enough for you to enjoy this year. You are a gift, my friend. Thank you for this blog! Even though I don’t have a kiddo at home anymore, your wisdom resonates with me.
I’m so happy you liked it! I probably should have referenced Zumba because we used to own that class! Right?!? Ha ha ha