Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chilly Day

Today I went to Franconia to celebrate the life of a friend's baby brother.  As I sort through all the losses I can remember, I don't think I've ever been to a memorial service for someone younger than myself.  Chelone was only 29.  We stood there, hundreds of us, in the alternating hail and sunshine and remembered an amazing person.

Dance Fever

I love my job! Even though I'm sore, bruised and battered from two weeks of Swing dancing all day long, this morning one little boy came up to me, grinning, and said: "I hated dancing before, I wanted to stay home sick the first day, and now I LOVE it!" ...my heart almost burst! Kids are dancing in the hallways, kids are practicing at recess, kids are sneaking back to the gym to watch, kids are humming as they walk from class to class, teachers are jumping in to volunteer when we have uneven numbers, the older students are helping the younger ones. I am so, so, so proud of them. It doesn't get better than this. I could fly today.

Boys are learning to treat girls with respect, and vise versa, to trust one another, to work together, to feel and see an accomplishment that is just plain cool.  I watched several kids who were not friends before this class, dance in a steamy sugar house the other night, laughing, choreographing, radio static not deterring them in the least.

What's so particularly gratifying is: everything will be different for some of them now.  I know that dancing changed my life.  And I see that same look on plenty of faces...that look like a whole new world has opened up, one where they suddenly discovered they can do things they never thought they could.  An open-mindedness to try things that they thought they would hate.  It was so powerful to me that when I left the other day, after watching a formerly sulky kid trying out a new lift on his partner and they they stopped to work out the logistics before doing it again...and again...and again, until they had it perfect and then excitedly called me to come see, after having this sort of thing happen a dozen other times, in the parking lot later, I put my head down on the steering wheel and cried for a minute, great welling up of relief and gratitude towards life and love and opportunity.

It's like holding the most wonderful gift and being able to hand it over to unsuspecting recipients, like a sweepstakes, or a newborn baby.  So thankful to be able to give such a gift, it's a thousand times better than being the Good Humor Man!  I feel like I'm passing out happiness.  Best feeling in the world.  Parents have told me their kids are dancing while brushing their teeth, are swinging their little brother around, are moving the furniture out of the way to show off their moves.

This morning the 8th grade did a final Swing demo in front of the whole school during an assembly, and the cheers were deafening.  They worked incredibly hard and did an amazing job.  More sappy tears on my part as I watched from the side.  I am so lucky.  So lucky.