"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You make me feel like dancin'

Fourteen means the ripe ole age to attend church dances.  I remember waiting every day of my thirteenth year to hit that milestone.  It was big doin's.

Celia was excited.  The dance venue was kind of a-ways-away from our house so her dad and I decided to drop her and have dinner nearby until 10:30 pickup.  We pep talked her all the way.  I could feel her eyes roll in the back seat darkness.

"Never turn down any boy who asks you to dance.  He probably had to work up his last ounce of courage to ask you."

"Ask interesting questions about him ... like .. where do you go to school, what's your favorite color, and what kind of toothpaste do you use?"

"Remember the electric slide steps we taught you."

 "It doesn't hurt to be the asker, you know, boys appreciate being asked to dance, too."

"Be sure to guard your toes at all times and don't break out into the coffee grinder ... it's so 1991."

"Your dad and I met at a church dance so, in the long run, you never know what can happen.  But not yet because your 14, and we were 20, but still .. just sayin'."  we teased.

Would she feel lost?

Would she hold up the wall all night?

Would she sit each slow dance watching other girls have fun and let her self esteem fail?

I walked her in because worrying got the best of me.  It was packed.  And loud.  I offered to walk around until we found friends she knew.  Bounding out of the crowded gym center, they found her first.  An energetic mass of boys and girls, whisking her off, and I became obsolete in the laser, disco-ball lit darkness.

And I left her to be her own girl.  

Stepping in to pick up later, I found her in the final slow dance of the evening with an awkward boy of the same age.  Scintillating on the trip home, she couldn't remember his name.  He was one of many who'd braved asking, she said, and how nice it had been to be surrounded by young men of similar values, just wanting to have good clean fun with no worries of attachment, pairing off, or expectations.

I remembered years passed, coming home from my own dances with girlfriend chatter in the backseat darkness over boys who I'm certain, had no idea the effect their unabashed invitations had. The romantic in me would play over and over the carefully chosen words between dance partners who's names I could not remember and I would do my own scintillating while breathlessly awaiting the next dance opportunity.

And it hit me hard that she is growing up and one day all too soon, she will not just be mine anymore.


  1. Stake dance memories are the best....and man are her eyes blue.

  2. What church do you attend? My church never sponsored dances...sounds like they would be WAAAAY better than the high school dances I attended! She looks beautiful...lovin' the new reddish hue!

  3. My nephew turns 14 in May. He also lives in Colorado. Inter-es-ting! :D

    I kid.

  4. Kayla -- We are LDS (Mormon) and those Mormon kids sure do have a good time!

    I've fought against letting her color her hair but she inherited my frizz and nothing controls frizz like damaging hair dye! I've felt her pain so we tried a wash in to see what her hair would do, and it really grabbed the red. Fading already though it did help with frizzles.

    Rachel -- the red brings out the blue which my husband says is because she (and all the other blue eyed members of the family of which I am the only one not) were righteous in the pre-existance.

  5. Not nice! I didn't need that last sentence... I'm trying to remain in denial over here!

    Why, oh why, do they have to grow so, so, so fast???