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As I write, the children are upstairs dancing. Three of them. No reason. Out of the blue, one said, “I’m going to my room to dance. You guys want to come?” I think our musicals kick off on Friday night has us feeling artsy. “Sound of Music,” was a huge hit. (Juvenile search for free, legal music to download has begun.) The singing/no speaking dinner was grand. We’ll do it again and give it time to develop. One was too shy. The others had a grand time. Five year old quite enjoyed her attempts at vibrato. A highly recommended activity, I say.
Maybe it’s a small thing to hear my child look up from reading a book and announce a desire to dance. It makes me happy. My own love of dance is hampered by the requirement to move my body without a plan. I remember going to a concert once. Nothing fashionable, just a marching band on a lawn. I loved it and I wanted to clap with the music. Most everyone else was. I was inside the sounds of trumpets and flutes, cymbals and drums, I wanted to be part of the song.
I don’t remember if I was eleven, twelve, thirteen . . . but I couldn’t do it. I pictured myself picking my hands up off my chair and putting them together, but I was too afraid to try. Not sure how to start. Worried that everyone else knew how to clap in time, but I might not.
Since that day, I have learned to clap to music when I want to. For a time, I could mostly line dance (thanks to help from anyone who would go over the simplest things with me just one more time). Line dancing had the beauty of set moves to follow, but that skill has gone the way of things.
My joyful dancing, the kind without a plan, has been with my children. I danced with them as babies when we were alone. Later my children began asking me to dance. About kids and dancing, I hold to the following to get me through the occasional requests to participate:
1. It matters more that they learn the freedom and joy of dance, than it matters that beyond the confines of my imagination and the walls of our home, I have known neither.
2. Along with remembering me taller and wiser than I am, their memories of whatever odd moves I may try to incorporate into my dancing have the potential to undergo similar distortions if I can just keep smiling.
The marvel of it grows in me. My children are upstairs dancing. For fun. Maybe I was faking it to get here, but my children love to dance. Watching them, I see the shadow of small miracles. Of these I can only say thank you. Bow softly. Wonder at such good gifts.
I think you need to have a real life musical evening…where everyone sings what they have to say. Sing through dinner….etc. If you yell at the kids, you have to sing it. heehee . . . .
(This was from Abby’s comment to my “Singing in the Snow,” post.)
Have you ever tried this yourself? This is a seriously great idea. You have now officially planned the first musicals kick-off night of the upcoming family musicals tour. . . date still to be determined. I’ll post back the results, but really you are killing me. I wasn’t going to start the tour until school was out . . . Dec. 19th? 20th? But if you think I can wait that long to sing my grievances at my children, you are wrong. I have already begun working on possible lyrics. So far, I have a short number on the state of their rooms set to the tune of “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” I am still playing with the words to my impending mental breakdown serenade, but am using the tune of Amazing Grace to contrast nicely with my thoughts on uncivil sibling bickering and how it is affecting my peace of mind.
Many thanks for the brilliant suggestion. As soon as I can pull it off, we’re going for it.
Singing to sanity, or not, but having fun, on County Road 21
We put a pretty big value on family time over the Christmas break. This year, we have a plan that we’ve gone so far as to tell the kids, so there’s no going back now. We’re going musical, as in musicals. All that’s really left is to pick the ones we’ll watch and get them.
` Here’s why we’ll be watching so much singing and dancing this December . . .
1. Boy one announced that the music from Fiddler on the Roof was some of his favorite music in the world. (We didn’t even know he had downloaded it.) He started singing Fiddler songs around the house, but had no clue about the story.
This got me thinking. Then two more discoveries pushed the idea into a full blown mission.
2. Boy one confessed that, “Matchmaker,” was his favorite song at first because he assumed it was about someone playing with fire . . . and how cool is that, you know, mom?” He said he sang it for a while before he figured it out.
3. We discovered that only one of our children had ever seen, “The Sound of Music.”
How it was we got this far, we two who both love musicals, without sharing this with our children, I have no idea. We did a test run last week with the 1971 movie version of, “Fiddler on the Roof,” to help us gauge our range for choosing. They obviously understood it at different levels but regardless of comprehension, it was a big hit. Do you know how nice it is to hear your kids singing those songs around the house?
I feel a town crier is in order, although chances are that both the crier and my excitement about sharing musicals with children would be met with confusion. Watching the kids enjoy, Fiddler on the Roof, was just so satisfying. I feel a kind of civic duty bursting out of me. Like I should be stopping people at the grocery store to tell them about it. Like I should be knocking on doors of people I don’t know and handing them copies of, The Sound of Music.
This is why I have a husband. He reminds me that I will probably not want to knock on all those doors in the morning, so perhaps best not to print out all those fliers tonight. “But that the original idea,” he will say carefully, “the one where we show 4 or 5 of the best ones to our kids . . . well, it’s just so manageable . . .” And normal, he kindly does not add.
So, no posters, no grocery store announcements. Just a blog. Did I mention that we haven’t finished narrowing our list yet? Sound of Music, and My Fair Lady, for sure. After that, I welcome suggestions!