Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Dance

The Dance (written Dec. 14, 2011 on board “Liberty of the Seas”)

Sometimes, standing on the sidelines offers me an amazing opportunity to observe life’s beautiful treasures. I had such an opportunity this evening.

My 83-year-old mother-in-law Bootsie accompanied us on a cruise. While she wasn’t able to get out and about much on the ports of call, we all enjoyed our time together on the ship. The aches and pains that go along with getting older seem to plague her more and more these days, but she was able to enjoy many of the offerings on the ship.

We feasted our final night in the formal dining room. Just outside the dining room was a small bar. After dinner, a band was playing. We stood for a few moments, listening to the salsa beat.

(In their younger days, David told me, his parents danced. One of his most treasured memories is watching them dance together. He smiles every time he tells me that story.)

As we listened to the music, I watched Bootsie swaying to the beat. Then David took her in his arms and they danced together. After a couple of steps, they both kicked off their shoes and continued. He twirled her, she circled around him, they moved together in rhythm to the music.

For a few moments, I saw that sparkle in her eyes, that bounce in her step, and a glorious smile on her face. It was as though the years melted into the air and she was in the arms of the man she loved with all her heart. Only now it was her son, rather than her husband.

I’m not a dancer. I’ve never felt comfortable even trying to dance. For a few seconds, I have to admit I was envious of their ability to move together so beautifully, to put a picture to the music. And then I realized I was being given a gift most precious: I was seeing love in motion.

I didn’t have a camera, so I must rely on the photograph of my memory: the mother smiling up at her son, the son gazing down at his mom, the two of them dancing together in grace and love.