Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dirty Dancing

Did I just post that I don't watch much TV? Well, I guess I lied. Tonight I watched one of my all-time favorites: Dirty Dancing.

Dirty Dancing was made in 1987, the same year Bob and I met and fell in love. Dirty Dancing is a coming of age movie, and 1987 I came of age. There was little dancing involved in my case, as my husband always told me dancing with me is like pushing a rope. That has always been meant as a joke and it never offended me because frankly, I hate to dance.

December 31, 1986 I moved away from home from Denver to South Dakota. I started my career in January of 1987. I moved into a four-plex and soon met all my neighbors. Downstairs was an Air Force couple, who I became instant friends with. An older lady (in her 50s at the time--not so old to me now!) lived in the basement, and Bob and his sister lived next door. I met his sister first, and we got along great. I spied Bob a few times out the window and thought he was quite a hunk.

The first time I met Bob I thought he was the biggest jerk on the planet. His sister and I were talking in the hall and she kept calling him to come out and meet me. Finally, after ten minutes and several requests, he slammed the footrest down on his Lazyboy recliner and stomped into the hall like a spoiled baby who was "majorly" inconvenienced. He shook my hand, said a gruff hi, then stormed back.

My next encounter was one early summer evening I decided to go sit at the picnic bench in the back yard with a book. The Air Force couple was soon outdoors. And surprise, the big oaf joined us. Pretty soon someone brought out a 12-pack of Coors Light. We were drinking, laughing, and having the time of our lives.

I remember looking at Bob, who was wearing a tank top. He had a red-neck tan, but he had the most gorgeous, muscular arms I had ever seen. When he told me he worked for the railroad, I was in love before I knew what hit me. My daddy worked for the railroad for over 40 years, and that impressed me.


We were drunk the entire summer. We were responsible drunks, though, as we never drove drunk. We'd shoot coffee cup shots of peach schnapps chased by a Coors Light. That summer Dirty Dancing came out and Bob was my real-life Patrick Swayzee.

For the record, neither Bob nor I drink now. Just had to throw that in.

The next summer we moved in together and were married the following year.

Will I ever tell this story to Thomas???

Anyway, I was feeling extremely low tonight and watching Dirty Dancing made me feel better. It brought a smile to my heart and reminded me of my coming of age, my falling in love, my going out on my own.

It also made me think about seasons of life. I guess there really are seasons. I'm so different today than I was then. Then I was unafraid, adventurous, willing to try anything. Today I love air bags, drive the speed limit, and am overly cautious.

My youth is in the past. I've had a hard time with that. Turning 40 was hard. All the gray hair I sport is hard. But that is life.

In 1987, my dad was still working. The cowboy, my FIL, was still working. That was only 20 years ago. The cowboy is gone, my dad is aging rapidly. He's 80 and has many health issues.

So when December hit, so did my Christmas blues. I get them every year. My very first blog entry is about Christmas blues. This year is worse, after losing the cowboy. No, he wasn't my father. No, I wasn't that close to him. But it hurts and hurts bad nonetheless. Watching my husband walk around in a fog is difficult. It is very painful.

So we fake it. We fake being our normal selves for Thomas's sake. We fake cheerfulness and excitement. We go on living, as we should, although it feels like we're walking knee-deep through mud.

By this time of year my decorations are always up. I asked Bob to get them out of the shed today. He did not. I'm going to have to fake that cheer and get them myself tomorrow.

And all of this actually does relate to homeschooling. Really. As I was watching Dirty Dancing, I was thinking I really need a break. I would love to take a week off and do nothing but have some fun. Yes, we just had two weeks off, but they certainly weren't vacation days, except for our Mt. Rushmore visit. I would like to stay up late and sleep til noon. I would like to make the outside world go away and cocoon myself. But I can't. Looking at Thomas inspires me. What does he need most right now? Routine, stability, normalcy. He needs fun, laughter, and yes, school.

So the best thing I can do for him and for me is to get up tomorrow morning, do my chores, wake him up and hit the books. We'll have three full weeks then we'll get a break. I think Thomas needs that much more than I need to cocoon myself. I think Thomas needs to see that we can be sad but still get done what needs to be done. It's okay for him to see his dad down. It's okay for him to see me down. But it is necessary for him to see us getting on with life.

My season right now is to be a parent. I'm a middle-aged, 41-year-old mom. And while December is always a hard month for me, it is my job to make happy memories for Thomas, to love and nurture him, to show all emotions and to educate him.

So, tomorrow morning I'll fake it. I'll fake it until I make it.

And life goes on.


Anonymous said...

A big bowl of popcorn and the movie Elf, that's my prescription.

Anonymous said...

You are very right in knowing that routine is good when you are fighting hte blues, for Thomas AND you. But, also know you can take time to do some fun things....FIELD TRIP! Go to a museum, or a play, and have a fun lunch out. Go ice skating or hiking (p.e. credits!) Bake tons of cookies, letting Thomas do math by double and tripling the recipes. Hit the library to get books for follow up reading, and snuggling, in bed. Remember, homeschooling can be about more than just "the books." Education is life, too!

wisteria said...

You are a fabulous mother!! Our morning school routine keeps my family sane. Setting the bar and then keeping it is a good exercise.

BTW, I cannot help myself. I love Dirty Dancing, too.