Friday, April 27, 2007

To Gloria

"James, time for your lesson," I called to my fourth-grade student in the gym over trampoline.

"Wait, I think Ms. Morton looks like she needs to jump. What do you guys think?" asked Mr. Pelton, their gym teacher.

"Yeah!!!" was the uproarious and unanimous reply of the other fourth graders gathered around the trampoline, eagerly awaiting their own turn.

"Really?" I asked. I may have also been gawking. "But I'm wearing a skirt."

"Ah, it'll be fine," Marty smiled.

And with that, I kicked off my shoes.

My mother would've been proud. Three years ago, she gave me the book/cd gift set of Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." That song is one of the most precious things my mom has given me--that and the laugh that came out of her the day she watched from the passenger seat as I drove our van into two parked cars. After that, I couldn't blame her bristling as I drove through drive-thru windows. I don't sing along with the song a lot or open the book often, but I know that the same mother who matra-ed "Slow down!" is now cheering, "Swerve a little!"

And I swerved myself right up onto that trampoline with Hannah.

"Do this," she held her hands over her jeans and pantomimed keeping my skirt down. I held, she smiled, and we jumped. And giggled. We couldn't keep from giggling. And after two stellar demonstrations from Hannah, I even learned to fall on my knees and successfully land back on my feet.

As James and I walked back to his lesson, he was smiling, and I was still giggling. I smiled for the rest of the day.

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 by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me 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 dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
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
I hope you dance

Saturday, April 14, 2007

But most of all, I wish it for myself

We said goodbye to Anna Pearl yesterday.

There is a deep longing in me to be original. It claws at me when I see a painting of daffodils in the teacher lounge or a night sky full of stars. I planned to write music during my time off this week. Reading Psalm 37 and entering the early stages of a grieving process, I want to respond with originality. But this week has left me feeling like my swollen tongue after a night of mouth-breathing.

I'm an imitator. My super-power of wanting to always be appropriately dressed was borrowed from a friend's blogsite (I couldn't even bring myself to write the word "stolen.") I like Rufus Wainwright because Vince did. I like Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird" because Ilana and Peter did. It seems I can't separate much from who I am and call it my own. I even wear my hair in a ponytail occasionally because I remember Josh Ihde telling April Cunningham he liked them in the Frito Pie line in second grade.

Is there anything original--new--in me, Abba? Am I bound to be an imitator? Is that really so bad as I've made it out to be?