Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Grande Passion

My mother's Christmas list this past year had all the usual things, plus one very interesting request--for ballroom dancing lessons. Along with the request was the name of a studio near her home. She'd always wanted to be a dancer, so she thought she would finally like to try it.

I bought her an introductory package--four private lessons, four group lessons, and four parties--and in January, she took her first lesson. A week later, she called me and said, "I love this. If I could, I would dance every day!"

In February, she competed in the Music City Ballroom Dance Competition and took the trophy for Top Amateur Female. She danced 144 heats in two days.

Last month, she attended an international competition in L.A., and next week, she'll be in the huge Millennium competition in Tampa, Florida. She does indeed dance every day, and on Saturday night, she'll perform the opening number in the spring show. Five of our instructors (yes, I;m taking lessons now too) are dancing with her. They're doing lifts and twirling her around, carrying her over their heads, and passing her from one to the other. They did a preview for us, and she was beautiful. Glowing. I've never seen her so happy.

Watching her these days, I've been thinking a lot about passion. It's easy to get caught up in the minutiae of life, work, chores, and obligations, and set our passions aside. I'll get to that later, we think. Or, I'll find time for that on Saturday. Then the grass has to be mowed or a project at the office demands extra hours, and suddenly that time is gone. But true passion won't be denied for long. It taps us on the shoulder, and we fall in love with our manuscripts again, or buy the deluxe box of colored pencils, or pull out the sewing machine or the fly-tying supplies. At least, I hope we do.

I am so proud of my mother. Watching her dance fills me with a sense of wonder and gratitude that, after having wished to be a dancer all her life, she has finally learned to see herself as one.


Jean Henry Mead said...

A lovely tribute for a lovely woman, Beth. It's never too late to follow your dreams.

June Shaw said...

Jaden, how fantastic! Love this story!

I had no idea my mom enjoyed dancing so much until she was in her 70's. She later came to line-dance classes with me, and Jay Leno's producer invited us to be on the Tonight Show when they read an AP story that she was 102 and still dancing. Everyone insisted I write a book about her, and readers tell me it's the most inspiring book they have read. The book is NORA 102 1/2: A Lesson on Aging Well.

Jaden Terrell said...

June, what a lovely idea for a book. My mom says that, even as a child, she used to have a vision of herself as a ballroom dancer, but it is only now coming to fruition. She looks in wonderment at the photos of herself in her dance competitions and says, "I still can't believe this is me!" But that's the way I've always seen her.