Monday, April 11, 2011

Dance Class, Elephants in the Room and Do they call you "Grace"?

After a week in Mississippi, keeping the Webbman during the day and visiting the Lil Momma and Precious at night, I'm back in Atlanta with my guys.  No matter how short or how long, B is always happy to see me.  I have to say, Buddy and Baxter, our 2 schnauzers are tickled to see me too, but they behave the same way when I walk back in the house from the grocery store.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to have no perception of how long it had been since you have seen someone.  I know I'd like that to work with me and the Webbman.  I guess it doesn't work that way, so I'll continue my quest at long distance grand mothering and be darn good at it, if I must say so myself! 

This Bitsy could NEVER dance. . . . . well, not according to "accepted" standards anyhow.  I was not one of those toddlers whose Mom deemed it necessary for "every little girl to have dance lessons".  My Mom was of the mindset that "Dancing was a form of self expression~one that was created by you and your feet as you hear the music".  So with that said, when the dances came . . . .  I "expressed myself".  I did my own steps, my own twirls and "cut a rug" the best way I knew how.  I tried to "reel it in", looking around at the steps and moves being used by others.  But somehow, my Mom could always predict safely that I would always find a way to make the dance "my own" before the music stopped.  Oftentimes, that dash of "Carleenitude" resulted in my friends asking if I was having a "fit", if I "needed my medicine" or "Had I tripped?"  I never concerned myself much with this lack of grace and fluidity, because it was somehow a "given" that my life plan included a husband, and most decidedly, a husband who could "dance".  He would "lead" and Bitsy would "follow".  This concept proved to be a serious "misconception" in my case.  Who would have thought that the plan involved marrying a musician who was on stage, never had to dance, but provided for MUSIC for others to gracefully move about the floor.  When and if he did dance, the dance was led by a little girl who STILL had never had dance lessons!  Bitsy has proved that a lack of dancing skills can make you stronger and more determined to "express yourself".

When the Lil Momma was old enough to march on into Miss Sharon's Dance Class, "MARCH" she did.  Bitsy didn't want her to have to stumble her way onto the dance floor with her own steps and her own twirls and, of course, her own set of "fits".  Dance class kicked off one of the first "neon signs" that the Lil Momma was her very much her own person, very different than Bitsy or Paw Paw.  The Lil Momma was happy to learn the plie, first position, second position, etc. She was happy as a clam until parents day came.  It was then that the Lil Momma expressed her firm belief clearly that "She knew all her steps and positions, but she was not going to dance in PUBLIC in front of all those people she didn't know."  She politely informed Miss Sharon "That she knew her MOMMA would not WANT her to".  So, with that statement, the Lil Momma, her tutu, toe shoes, and Bitsy left Miss Sharon's School of Dance and at that moment, that day, we began our quest of "expressing" ourselves, without the benefit of lessons.

Even without the lessons, Bitsy is well rounded enough to know this is Third Position.  I am hoping to make sure Webbman has lessons of some sort :)  Even if Bitsy and Honey have to teach him! 

When the Lil Moma was a baby, I made all of the decisions, with the help of the Lil Momma's Dad.  Big ones, little ones, we made them.  The Lil Momma grew and tested our choices, our decisions.  Her desires and her wishes and input were considered, but with the given that the last word belonged to "Mom", and if we needed intervention, we would bring in "Dad".  When she hit her teenage years, all of a sudden it became known that the last word didn't always have to belong to "Mom" or to "Dad".  She, like her friends, believed she knew it all and that I knew "nada", "zippo", "negative", "naught", "nothing".  So, every once in awhile, she rebelled.  Maybe, once in a blue moon, a wrong choice was made and always, however eventual, she came back to "Mom" with an unspoken apology and a little wiser thanks to whatever lesson learned.  This "Mom" didn't care, as long as she came back, that was all that mattered.

Then, it seemed like over night, all of a sudden, the Lil Momma was an adult.  She's now gone her own way, has her own say.  The everyday decisions are not mine to make anymore.  But . . . . thankfully, the Lil Momma still shares her trials and her tributions, her changes, her challenges, and life choices related to all of these.  Maybe now, the choices are about the little man, where to live, when to change jobs, how to revere the life they have been given.  As she shares all these things, I read between the lines.  I hear the tone of her voice and the MUSIC behind the words that she sings (sometimes with happiness, sometimes with the sheer desperation that sings "I want your opinion, need your advice and am seeking your approval.")  So, here we go.  We start our DANCE.  We position our feet and move a few steps forward, a few steps back, another step forward, another step back.  Bitsy gives her opinion, her advice, her approval.  The Lil Momma accepts it, rejoices in it and we DANCE.  Sometime, there's that gracefulness, that fluidity that I never had before.  Sometimes, it's just that easy.  Oher times, it's NOT. 

When we get to the "not-so-easy times" that are shared, I give my opinion, my advice.  Sometimes, however, it's necessary to hold on to my approval and my support because I DON'T approve and I DON'T want to support. We still DANCE, it's just without the fluidity, without the gracefulness.  It's like I've gone back to my friend's asking if "I'm having a fit"?  It's occasionally angrily.  I always WANT to support her and validate her choices, approve what she has decided to do.  Without a doubt, I always want to give her exactly what she seeks, but somehow experience, age and yep, sometimes my fear, make it impossible for Bitsy to do any of this without some sort of reservation  You always WANT to approve of what they're doing.  I always want to give her exactly what she seeks.  I can tell you, no adult child likes that tune, but I have never been able to change it with any form of sincerity.  Soooo, we both end the DANCE occasionally feeling hurt, slighted, misunderstood and oftentimes left out.  We seem to always DANCE around saying those things in an audible tone, usually, it is like the big pink elephant in the room :(. Usually.

This old Bitsy has gotten pretty good at figuring out what melodies may throw us out of sync, trip us up, and end on that "sour" note.  It's here, at the very onset of those dances that I'd like to hollar, "I love you more than you could ever know my sweet pea (oh yeah, you do know, because you have the Webbman), but I think I'll just sit this DANCE out."  Sadly, I haven't figured out how to do that.  How does a mom, a grandmom, a friend, coheart, confidante, lifelong friend, advisor, and protector — sit out the big ones and maintain a clear conscience, a clear heart, . . . . . . . . .
I hope we'll DANCE :)
Especially when the possibility looms and looms so large that turning down an invitation to dance may result in not being invited to DANCE anymore.  Gosh, this is when I so wish I had had those dance lessons!  So for now, I'll quote Martina McBride . . . . . and hope we "DANCE"  I hope WE always DANCE.  Somehow, I believe we will, because that's what we do, even if we are a tad spastic :). 

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