It was a laid back evening for Mia and I at a local “Music in the Park” event. It was the last one of the summer and our first time attending. I was kicking myself in the butt for never going before, it’s such a great chance to get out of the house with the family and connect with the community, friends and enjoy some live music. And also an excuse to drink alcohol in public. That’s always a plus, right? Always.
While watching my 3 year old play and dance from afar (a safe distance, don’t worry), I had so many thoughts, emotions and warm & fuzzies stir up. Some were nostalgic, remembering how carefree childhood was. What most of us wouldn’t give to have that wide-eyed, innocent, joyful, energetic and confident outlook on life again. What I wouldn’t give to be able to bottle that up and take shots of it from time to time, with a side of lime and salt (of course). It’s almost a shame that memories from this time in our lives are so hard to recall. One big perk of being a mom is getting to relive these sweet and simple moments through my daughters.
During this particular night, a favorite song of mine began playing in my head while watching Mia dance with her gal pal among the crowd of adults. Quick side note: this gal pal’s mom is a very close gal pal of mine who I met in the 7th grade. Her and I have danced away many nights together while living in San Diego during our college days. Crazy to see our girls doing the same before our very eyes, years later. Anyways, back to the song. I’ve always found it meaningful and now as a mom, it resonates more within me than ever before. “I Hope You Dance”, recorded by Lee Ann Womack, summons all of the hopes and dreams I have for Mia and her future.
I received a special high school graduation gift from an elementary school teacher who I was volunteering for as an aid. She gifted me with a book that features the lyrics of this song and also breaks them down into further writings about the truths in life that the writers want their own children to hold dear. I’ve held onto this book for the last 14 years and plan to pass it down to Mia when she’s old enough to read and understand it. I hope you don’t mind if I share with you now the lyrics and just some of my favorite writings from the book.
“I Hope You Dance” lyrics
I hope you never lose your sense of wonder. You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger. May you never take one single breath for granted. God forbid love ever leave you empty handed. I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance. Never settle for the path of least resistance. Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’. Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’. Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter. When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider. Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance. And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along. Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone. I hope you dance.
I mean, right?! How dead-on is this. I just think this is so beautifully and poetically written and what I love about it is that it applies to all ages. Even reading it now, I find myself contemplating life and feeling down about the fact that I need a few cans of booze or shots of liquor to get on any dance floor. But that’s another story for another time. Man, three references to alcohol so far. I swear I’m not a drunk.
Hope takes never ceasing to be amazed… Wearing your soul on your sleeve… Holding your breath, waiting to hear “I love you, too…” Believing that tomorrow could be better than today… that you’ll get a second chance… that you’ll make a difference… that you matter.
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Let the music move you, let the moment take your hand, let it lead you out into the middle of the dance floor and embrace you. Dive off the high board, ride with the top down, thrive like a wildflower, and sing (who cares what you sound like) with a voice all your own.
If you’re ever lying on a beach with 80 billion grains of sand beneath you, 700 thousand ocean waves before you, 60 million stars stretched out above you, and you’re still not at all impressed, I want you to think about this: The light you see reflecting from the stars is over one million years old. WOW. But then, just before you start to feel like a mere blip in the gigantic scheme of things, please remember this: Yes, you are small, but you’re also irreplaceable and invaluable and miraculous. Those stars don’t have anything on you.
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Ah, youth…new skin, wide smiles, clear eyes…the future so bright. If only we could bottle it, sip it now and again, and stay forever twenty-one, forever ten, forever five. I liked being five. But I’d also like to think that time and age are like cousins- they’re relative. Who said you have to go by actual miles? If you didn’t know how old you were, how old would you be? (Me, I’m sticking with five.) I’ll even argue that you can bottle youth. What you store it in is all up to you. (I suggest your heart.) If you can figure out a way to keep the energy and gumption and fire alive, you’ll always stay young. And where there’s youth, there’s hope… where there’s hope, there’s wonder… where there’s wonder, there’s faith… where there’s faith, there’s chance… where there’s chance, there’s love… where there’s love, there’s music… and dancing. So in my heart of hearts, I hope you dance. I really hope you dance. Amen.
Wait… Promise me one more thing: If tomorrow you wake up feeling unoriginal or frail-hearted or faithless or tired of this world, please, pick up this book and start back at page one. (Or just call me.)
If you’re at all interested in purchasing this book, you can check it out HERE. No, this post is not a review for this book, I’m in no way associated with it other than being a satisfied owner of it. I think it makes for such a great graduation gift, or gift for someone who needs encouragement, for your child (teenager or adult), or even for a baby shower. I keep this book on the top shelf of Mia’s bookcase so that she can’t quite reach it yet and possibly destroy it. It’s just waiting for her to be old enough to ‘get it’.