Monday, March 20, 2023

Dancing hearts

by ELENA JOHNSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| May 8, 2021 1:00 AM

I was reminded yet again after a recent, minor health scare: you’re never too old to need Mom.

It was only a ghost of a scare (and little more) but then that’s all the more reminiscent of countless times longer ago when night terrors and fiendishly sharp splinters could only be soothed by one person.

Who else stays up half the night for a fright, childish or not, and still smiles the next morning?

But it’s not only in times of difficulty, perceived or real that she’s appreciated.

How many times of joy would not exist without Mom?

Forget grace and poise and discipline. Without her, I’d never know to dance everywhere – rain, shine, or snow; in the park or in the grocery aisle.

There was a code to follow, after all, with two simple rules:

  1. You never leave the other to dance alone.
  2. You should never let good music pass without a dance anyway.
  3. No one eats chocolate alone.

Okay, so that last one was more of a coda. But if one needs chocolate to soothe the soul on a bad day, then darn it, the other should be there to acknowledge the occasion and share the burden. Licking the spoon and all.

You need Mom to teach you these things, and share them with you.

So in the movie theater (back when Lizzie McGuire was all the rage), in every outdoor concert, and even alone on the bus in cities where that kind of thing gets you stares (because you should dance even when the other is not present or able), we or I danced.

If it felt like a “tip-tapping, song-singing, finger-snapping kind of day” worthy of our favorite, shared poem*, we danced. And when you and Mama share a dancing heart, it usually does. Especially when the light turns red, the day is still young, and the soca beat is smooth.

It’s the code.

Without her, I wouldn’t know the joys of many things, things which soothe the worries when she’s not there.

Without her I would not have a crochet hook and a ball of yarn to see me through days of joy and stress alike – especially the days when there’s no else to dance with. And though I’d probably learn the reverence owing to kitties, noblest of creatures, on my own, I might have gone my whole life without the Soothing Power of Brownie Mix without a proper and thorough education in chocolate. (Equally deserving of kitty-worthy reverence.)

No, you’re never too old to need Mom or to want her around. To split another bag of Peanut M&Ms, to share another dance in the car.

It doesn’t matter when you meet her, if you find each other at week two or age 30 in life. It doesn’t matter if she’s also Grandma or someone else entirely. Even if she leaves far too soon, the love and need for her stays.

You always need Mom. Good thing she’s always around, in spirit, person, or in dance.

But as for today, it feels like

“a tip-tapping



kind of day.”

I love you and your dancing heart, Mom. Let’s celebrate.

*Thanks to Libba Moore Gray for putting our love of dance into words with your poem, My Mama Had a Dancing Heart.

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