With the music helping your old parents shake the sleep out of our heads, you girls dance like you’re supposed to – fully, freely, with everything. You dance like little girls who feel the rhythm completely, even if you can’t yet make your bodies follow it. I love to watch you dance in the mornings, spinning life into the day in your mom’s shoes.
The way you forget anyone is there and watch each other and make sure that we are watching you all at the same time. The way you surrender to every moment. The way your limbs will not be dictated to by something as trivial as a consistent beat. You will dance at whatever speed you choose and whenever you choose it, damn it. And that’s exactly as it should be. You are your own time signature.
And I love to watch you feel the song itself – the poetry and the emotion. While the words may escape you, music has a wonderful way of communicating a feeling. As Adele belts out her loss and ache, I watch your feet stop, your hands clasp at your heart, your eyes close and you sway, aching right along with her. Your penchant for drama shines and you become the love cast aside.
Times like these I find I’m watching my little girls but I can see the women you will someday be. And I can see, because I remember, all that is ahead of you.
One day you won’t be dancing to songs too big for you to really know and dressing up in shoes too big for your small feet. Your years as little girls will be fuzzy memories before you – and I – are really ready for them to be. One day those grown up shoes will be yours and you will dance and sway and sing to the lyrics that you will understand because you will be living them in your own way.
You will sing and dance along still, but you will know the hurt and the anger and the loss and the sadness in a way that you can’t yet comprehend. Ahead of you, girls, is heartbreak, the greatest muse known to art. Everyone experiences it some way or another. And everyone carries music alongside the ache some way or another.
I remember feeling like I was the only person in the world who could know pain like that. I remember not wanting to move and wondering why I ever would again. And I remember the songs that I carried with me into those dark places. I sang and cried and felt like it would never get better.
But it did because it always does. I grew from those moments. I learned about who I was and what I really wanted. And I learned how strong I can be. I think the songs I carried with me then had something to do with that. I will always love those songs because they helped me find my way home.
That is what is ahead of you, girls, and that is what I think about sometimes when I watch you dance and sing along with Adele and her muse. I think about the hurt that you will someday feel. I think about which songs will be yours and how you’ll sing them so differently than you do now.
And I am so happy for you.
You see, before you discover the songs that resonate with your ache you will get to sing along with ones that reflect the joy that must precede that ache. You will sing about love in a way that you can’t understand now either. You will have learned about real beauty.
And when the beauty fades – and it will, at least until, hopefully, one day it doesn’t – and the ache comes, you will learn about yourselves in ways that I don’t know if you otherwise can. You will learn about truly surrendering to the moment. From real pain and real challenge comes real growth. It will be hard and you will think it will never end, but it will. And when it does you will know a little better who you are and you will know what an amazing thing it really is just to be alive.
But, for now, I just want to watch you dance. There will be time for all of that much later. For now, you should sing along to these words without thinking about what they might be saying and just dance.