Dancing with Joy

[from the archives]

I meandered out into the kitchen to get some late breakfast.  Annie and Lizzy were in the living room dancing. As soon as they saw me, Annie exclaimed, “Mommy Mommy Mommy! Watch us!!” I watched as the girls danced to the beginning of “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree”, but something was missing.  They were dancing in sock feet on the carpet, but clearly they were tap dancing!

“Why don’t you go get your tap dancing board Annie and you girls put your shoes on?”

“That’s a good idea!” She said enthusiastically, jumping up a bit and lightly clapping her hands in excitement.

I knew the board was too heavy for Lizzy to lift, so I suggested to Josiah that he could go help Annie with it. While Annie and Lizzy went out on the porch where the board used to be, Josiah informed me that we probably wouldn’t be able to get it. He had seen Daddy and Phillip struggle with putting it in the back of the garage, and he said the cars were probably in the way.

As I made my breakfast, I suggested to Josiah that maybe Phillip could move the cars. Soon Annie and Lizzy came back in finding that the dancing board was not on the porch, but a smaller board was out there that Annie and Lizzy were bringing back in with them.

Before I knew it, Josiah and Phillip had put on their rain gear and boots, and were out in the garage wrestling with the heavy hinged pieces of plywood.  After some time, they brought it up the back steps.  This was very difficult for Josiah especially because of how heavy it is. They were both soaking wet from the heavy rain of the day.

As they brought it in, the board Annie had brought in was now in the way.  Annie was trying to move it, but it was too big for her to handle alone.  Phillip took it from her with his strong arms, and carried it back outside by himself. He then came back in and helped Josiah set out the big hinged board for the girls.

I was just so blessed by their attitudes and motivations through all this. Josiah and Phillip were delighted to help their sisters. They both willingly and eagerly put down their own projects to exert themselves in the effort of getting the boards out of the garage and up the stairs in the rain. The boys had taken on the girls’ concern and made it their own. This is sacrificial love and relationship building in process. There was no nagging or pleading or reluctance involved. The boys eagerly picked up their sisters’ concerns as a matter of habit. The kids frequently do this sort of kindness for each other.

The girls were thrilled. They thanked their brothers with huge delighted smiles and giggles as they put on their tap shoes, continuing to plan their dance. The boys returned the smiles with their own as they went to hang up their coats and return to their projects, talking and laughing about the slugs and the spiders they’d seen along the way.

Annie has been in tap for several years now, while Lizzy only took it for one summer a few years back, and has not wanted to tap dance since then. On this morning Annie was teaching Lizzy new things and reminding her of the old. I stopped them both to remind them of some loving habits for their situation. To Annie I reminded her that beginners need lots of time to practice something over and over, and she needed to have patience and give Lizzy time to succeed. To Lizzy I reminded her to be grateful for Annie’s input and listen carefully, being easy to teach with her diligent effort. They were both overflowing with joy and excitement to be making up a tap dance together and fully agreed with my instruction. They danced nearly the whole morning as they delighted in each other in their unified effort. Annie was giving patient instruction, and Lizzy was eagerly trying her best.

At lunch time, Annie had come to the table before Lizzy got there.  She leaned across the table bursting with excitement.  “Mommy!” she whispered loudly, “LIZZY’S TAP DANCING WITH ME!!, She’s never wanted to do that before!!” She slightly jumped up and down, making motions as if she wanted to jump and shout for joy but she was trying to contain herself.

What a lovely morning we’ve had together! Loving giving relationships are such a blessing!

[originally posted September 2012]

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