Tag Archives: ballroom dance

Family ties……

Remember the TV series entitled “Family Ties”?

I don’t have many of those. The reasons are varied, some known to me, others still (and might remain) buried deep inside the footlocker of my family’s history. But those issues are not my point here.

Recently I attended the funeral of an uncle, my mother’s older brother. At that coming together of friends and family to honor his memory and life, I met relatives that I didn’t know until the introductions were made that day. They are not distant kin, either; they are the children of my first cousin, the cousin I lived with my senior year in high school.

Where have we been the rest of our lives?

Family isn’t always blood, either, right? I also ran into–quite literally–one of my best friends from that same senior year. Heaven knows, there aren’t many of those for me, military brat that I was. She and I hadn’t had any contact since then. Almost 50 years ago.

Once we arrived at the gravesite for the service that day, my cousin pointed out our grandparents’ resting place, right next to that of this same uncle’s wife. My aunt, one of my favorite people ever. And this was the first time I had even seen their resting places, or even known where they were. I hadn’t attended their funerals, a fact that shames me now.

resk graves

Even sadder is that this familial amnesia continues for my adult daughter. She has little knowledge of these family members, something I would love to rectify with a road trip soon. A long one, to be sure, but better late than never.

Family ties have significance far beyond this moment, the one when we’re angry at a member of the group or are separated in other ways. They connect us to a tribe, a ready-made, hopefully well-nurtured, soft place to fall in times of trouble. These sturdy strings were never knitted together for me or my siblings. But it is up to me to get busy and start picking up the loose ends, don’t you think?

“The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.” ~Erma Bombeck

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Dancing Fool Competes: But WHY??

Yes, there is that question. competition

Considering that I seem to be colorblind when it comes to blue ribbons…..or any color ribbon at all. Competition holds no meaning to me, so why would I decide to dip my high-heeled dance shoes into a Ballroom Dance competition at all?

I spent some quality time in front of my potbellied stove to craft an answer over the weekend. The birds and I came up with a response as I witnessed the sunrise bringing light to the day….and my thinking.

I’m all about learning, which is no surprise to anyone who knows me. The process of the dance lesson alone intrigues me. How does my teacher move from Point A–a simple box step–to Point B–a cross-over with hip motion, and then beyond, resulting in a beautifully crafted rumba? Especially from me, someone who had never danced a step until about 3 years ago, a woman who resisted dancing to the point where I spent more time hiding in a lounge’s restroom than sitting anywhere near the dance floor? As a teacher myself, albeit in a vastly different arena, I appreciate and embrace the challenge from my perspective: the student.

I may not be competitive with others on the dance floor–or just about anywhere else (well, maybe on a racquetball court, so come back later for that story)–but my internal dialogue challenges me. How was my crossover yesterday? Today it must be better, or I’ll exhaust myself trying. I don’t need my rumba to be perfect, but it must be the best I can achieve. And therein lies my competition–me.

Competing may slake my thirst for continuing to move along the line of my dance experience. It seems a natural progression for me, as a woman with no dance partner and some decent moves on the dance floor. I may hate the whole thing–but there is only one way to find out.

Let’s do it!