I love theme songs.
Whether for a party, a movie or an era in my life, a good song that ties off the moment — preferably with a kick-in-the-gut emotional twist — gets me every time.
When our son was one, I got my theme song fix from a Marin musician, Steve Seskin, in his ballad to his newly-adopted son: “Baby boy.” His opening lyrics delivered:
“Words can never say how much I miss you, when I go away. All I want to do is hug and kiss you.
I’ll stand beside you through the hardest times. I’ll try to be your eyes when you’re feeling blind. I’m gonna love you til the sea goes dry.
You’re my baby boy
You’re my baby boy”
Queue the waterworks.
When our daughter was two, and enrolled in her too-cute-for-words ballet class, Lee Ann Womack came through with a ballad that splayed open my sappy, sentimental soul: “I hope you’ll dance.” This mother’s wish for her child includes the refrain:
“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens….And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance: I hope you’ll dance.”
Three days ago, we dropped our daughter off at college. Four weeks from now we move our son to his first job in Berlin, Germany.
So today, as one door in my life closes on up-close parenting, and the empty nest looms, I don’t choose to sit it out. I’m gonna dance.
Belly dance, that is.
Tucked in a strip mall between a nail salon and a car repair, my first stop in a future of unexplored possibilities beckons from the aptly named Belly Dance Studio.
This morning I met my friend and fellow empty nester, Birgit, there. To my delight, like my daughter’s long-ago toddler dance class, there was a box of costume props at the front of the room. And just like that, with bejeweled and jangly scarves tied around our hips, we parked our middle aged, mundane to-do lists and became absorbed in the shapes and chink-a-chink-a-chink sounds we made with our own coin-wrapped swaying hips, shimmying thighs and undulating arms.
The instructor, the 10 other women of all ages and sizes, and the whole experience in that eggplant-colored room was beautiful.
A simple enough experiment of re-coloring my world.
As we close a personally emotional, and globally horrifying week filled with far too much change and hatred and intolerance, a wish from a favorite theme song to us all:
May you never take a single breath for granted. And god-forbid love ever leave you empty-handed. I hope you’ll dance.