I remember our oldest daughter at 9 months, sitting on top of her grandpa’s patio table, eyes half closed, swaying energetically to the music playing in the background. I remember her at 18 months doing her squats—up down up down—as Disney tunes poured out of the iPod speaker.

I remember her at 3, dancing with her then 1-year old sister, waving arms and kicking legs in time to the music. My body would tense with each daringly attempted pirouette, as I watched and hoped she wouldn’t slam into her sister or the glass of the china hutch.

I remember her at 8, marching up to her dad and me with her three younger sisters in tow, each one dressed in tutus or an original ensemble carefully pieced together from the mismatched bits in the costume bin. They marched as a group, intuitively aware of the strength in their numbers, insisting that we sit on the couch and watch that evening’s performance.

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They danced, checking often to make sure we were watching, and we smiled, a little in awe of these unique, vivacious creatures who were moving with wild abandon, and trying to soak in each moment before their passionate love of tutus and children’s songs ended.

For a few moments, we were brought into the bubble of our daughters’ worlds—worlds where beauty, music and expressiveness are guiding forces. They were happy there, and so were we, conscious of the privilege of being invited to share in the world of music and movement and sequins and harmony and happiness. It crossed my mind that heaven might be a little like our living room that evening—a place where beauty and wonder stir hearts and happiness is overflowing.

Those four dancing princesses are now 13, 11, 9 and 6—just a little too old for group ballets complete with poofy skirts and “Baby Beluga.” When they dance now it’s to Just Dance hits or whatever latest tune has caught the interest of tweens. We now have to dig up old videos to relive those special performances of the past.

But those dances gave me a gift – the happy memories of living dreams, joyful hearts and innocent rapture. They gave my husband and I the gift of a share in the sweet childhood joy that is so often missing from our serious adult lives.

I love Lee Ann Womack’s song, “I Hope You Dance.” In my heart, I whispered the lyrics as our girls twirled around the room.

“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, dance.”

Dance, girls. Carry a little of that joy, wonder and exhilaration out into all you do, so that your life may always be strung through with that magic thread of childhood awe. And thank you, dear daughters, for the privilege of sharing in your joy, and for inspiring me to remember to weave more of your wonder into my own life as well.

Featured Photo Courtesy: jill111 via Pixabay