Navel Gazing and Other Hysterics

The Pickle Dance

Last Saturday, my family and I were sitting around my brother and sister-in-law’s table enjoying some vegetable soup. My sister-in-law brought out some of her homemade dill pickles, and the next thing I knew, my son was dancing in his chair. It’s the cutest dance really, he holds his tiny fists up and wiggles his little buns and shoulders, and the look on his face, God, he just beams happiness across the room. And I thought three things.

  1. Seriously, this is the cutest kid.
  2. When was the last time I danced about pickles?
  3. Why the hell wasn’t I dancing about pickles? Seriously? They were delicious.

One of the most wonderful things about kids in general, and my Reddy in particular, is their unchecked joy and complete immersion in the moment. Anytime, anywhere, if music is playing, Reddy is dancing. In the grocery store, in the car, walking across a parking lot, eating breakfast – if he can hear a beat, nothing stops him. You can also always tell where he is, and not just by following the trail of toys, but because his laugh is loud and straight from the belly. Reddy will laugh til he falls down, and everything, EVERYTHING is funny. Burps and toots top the list, but also hilarious is wiping goo on Mommy, anything the dog does, stealing toys from his sister, and knocking things over. This morning the cat threw up (again) and as I was grumbling to myself as I sprayed and wiped, Redding laughed and laughed.

“Noise Funny,” he said.

I found myself on the floor too, laughing til tears ran down my face. If you can’t laugh at the ridiculous noise that Jeff makes when he tosses his kitty cookies, then you’re taking life too seriously. And I was.

When does life get so staid? How old are you when being prim and sober is more important than being happy? How did this happen to me? When was the last time that I danced or sang with a song on the radio? Or enjoyed a tasty treat without thinking about calories? Or laughed so deeply my belly hurt? How often do we as adults let go and enjoy the moment? Forget about what I’m ‘supposed’ to do, stop wondering if I’ll look silly, or if people will think something bad about me, and just let the joy of a moment overwhelm me.

I need to change. I need to take myself less seriously, stop worrying and enjoy the moment, and dance if I want to. And I’d wager you do too. Do the pickle dance.


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