Senior Dancing Part 1

chachaHow a fifty-something uncoordinated, no-frills grandmother ended up wearing rhinestones and false eyelashes.

Okay, so I’ll tell you the most interesting thing about me at the very beginning.  That way, you can decide whether to keep reading or not.  You do that, don’t you?  Decide in the first few pages of a novel whether it is worth your time?

Anyway, the interesting thing is that I take ballroom dance lessons.  Oh, you’re not impressed yet?  Okay, I can see that.  What if I told you I am a competitive ballroom dancer AND I’m a grandmother AND I’m a total non-athletic, uncoordinated klutz?

Hm—now you’re thinking you should read at least a few more sentences.  Good, and yes, it’s a little like Dancing with the Stars, but, no, I don’t watch the show very often.  Weird, huh?

Now, you need to understand that I hadn’t had a dance lesson since I was about eight years old and the ones I had then didn’t go all that well.  I never played any game that involved a ball because I couldn’t kick one or throw one or catch one or hit one. I was never able to walk on stilts or run fast or run in when the jump rope was turning.  I could never stand on my hands or do a cartwheel.  Are you starting to get the picture?  How about this–I couldn’t even get past twosies in jacks!  (The last time I tried I was forty-five.)  And, not only am I uncoordinated, I am clumsy. I run into door facings in my own house.  I bang my head on cabinet corners that have been there for years.  I trip walking across a room when nothing is in my path.

But I am a child of the fifties—a product of that romantic era when marriages lasted more than five years and husbands and wives still danced together to the music of live bands. I grew up dancing with my father and watching him dance with my mother.  In my eyes, they were Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and it was so romantic.  I wanted to have that kind of connection with someone.

And now I do—sort of.  I dance the same dances my parents danced, and a few they didn’t.  The connection I feel to my teacher on the floor is magical, but the romance we portray is still missing from my real life. (My teacher and his wife are dear friends of mine.)

However, one thing I’ve begun to learn in the last few years is patience—with myself, with my teacher, with my life.  Six years ago, when I was driving my mini-van and tripping on the living room rug, I had no idea that tonight I would be wearing a backless dress, rhinestones, and false eyelashes.  I could not have imagined that tonight I would be dancing in a hotel ballroom, competing with women and men much younger than I am.  I never imagined that I would discover my greatest passion at the age of fifty-three.  Who knows maybe tomorrow you’ll discover yours.  Trust me, if I can do it, so can you. Come on over to the hotel and check it out—I’ll be the one with all the grandkids and no date.