Dance For Me

We used to call her the ‘Dance for me’ baby. At two weeks young, she’d look at you with blank eyes and blink, expressionless. Brow furrowed. Eyes glaring. She, the statue. We, the minions. She willed us to entertain her. She lorded over us daily with that steely face and when friends would come to meet her, they’d say, Oh gracious. She’s one of those babies.

She wanted you to dance for her, that’s all. She wanted you to hang the moon again and again and again, to bounce her and busy her and more, and higher, and faster.

Her first word? Roomba. (I know. Terrible first word.)

Her second? Dada.

But if you ask her, if you ask anyone that knows her, anyone who witnessed the summer she learned to talk, they’ll remember a baby swinging high, saying four words and four words only, a repeated soundtrack in June and July and August and beyond:

Uppa the sky! ‘gain! ‘gain!

Up to the sky.

Again and again.

Last weekend, I caught her dancing with Ken for a minute. He swung her around, faster, higher, uppa the sky. They spun and twisted, they flew and dipped. And then it was over. She was off to play with her friends and he was off to throw a football around.

She isn’t the ‘Dance for me’ baby anymore. She hasn’t been for a long time.

She’s the ‘Dance with me’ kid.

I think sometimes we demand things from others because we don’t know how to experience them ourselves. I think we demand perfection because we’ll never have it. We demand love because we don’t understand it. We grip our hands and clench our fists and furrow our brows and steel our faces, willing happiness because we know it’ll be gone in a second, or a minute – the time it takes to dance with your father and run to the fields.

We say, Dance for me. Up to the sky. Again and again.

But what we mean, I think, is Dance with me. Show me how it feels. Teach me what it looks like. Tell me how to do it, that it’s worth it, that it means something.

That I mean something.

It does mean something, the dance.

(So do you.)

She knows this now.

(So do we.)

  • This is so beautiful. I check your blog every day for something new. When I see that you’ve written, my heart is happy.

  • good gracious, this post!I love your insight. I think you just gave me permission to give other people permission to be themselves.

  • just beautiful, erin. you put words to so many of my thoughts circling in my head. it’s such a gift. you are such a gift.

  • Once again, I truly look forward to each and every post you write. They are always so beautifully written and they always remind me to stop and enjoy the fleeting moments.

  • Tears. A little inconvenient sitting here at my desk at work, but good ones. Thoughtful ones. xoxo

  • Erin. It seems like each time you post it gets better and better! Your words have just really been meeting me where I’m at lately. For that I am so, so grateful.

    Thank you!

    • Thank you sweet Emma – I appreciate the encouragement! I’m just over here, talking to myself on most days. I need each of these lessons so so much!

  • You write so truthfully and that is something I really appreciate. The amazing things my children continue to teach me every day as they grow inspire me so much. They also open my eyes to seeing things for the first time, it reminds me that the time spent with them is such a gift for me.

  • good grief erin … reading along happily and you did it again … choked up … tears welling … and i would like to say that you mean a lot ! lovely words from a lovely soul x

  • Once again your words leave me breathless and in tears…you caught the words out of the air. We have a teenager on the cusp of adulthood and she still needs the same things. For us to dance for her. For us to dance with her. For us to show her how…and that she is so worth it.

    Thank you for putting your lovely words out in the world. Waiting breathlessly for your book.


    • Oh Tammy – that’s so very kind! And I can only imagine the dance with a teenager. Keep up the great work, mama!

  • This dance you dip and twist and turn through, with a beauty quite unmatched by any other…dance with me, Erin? Teach me what it looks like. Tell me how to do it. <3

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