Half Naked Dance Parties

by Lauren Matthies


There are very few times in my life when I have felt pure, unadulterated joy.  I am a perfectionist, I am self-conscious, and I keep myself very contained and controlled most of the time. Even as a child, my sister would rip open her Christmas presents, screaming with joy and leaving a mess in her wake.  I, on the other hand, would gently open my gifts, careful not to tear the wrapping paper, calmly and politely say "thank you," and proceed to stack them in a nice and neat pile.

My son is breaking my world open.  It's been painful and challenging at times, but today I felt utter joy at his shaking of my universe.  

Yesterday was a rough day for Henry.  His four month old vaccines left him out of sorts, and in pain.  Not much soothed him.  Today we stayed in bed, cuddling, are only wearing our underwear/diapers (I'm no longer the one in diapers!), and just had a dance party in the kitchen. 

As we were dancing, I realized that this is what life is about.  Not making the perfect sourdough starter (like I've been trying to do with much confusion), not having a million instagram followers, not having a magazine worthy home.  But, this.  Right here, right now, this.  This moment, this time, this child, this relationship, this family, this.  

At the end of our dancing, he stared into my eyes for minutes like he so often does.  I adore when he stares at me like that.  It's as if he is looking into my soul.  He may only be four months old, but he is wise beyond his years, far wiser than I am.  I have a long way to go.  There are moments when I am fully present, but I am consumed by perfectionist thoughts, anxiety, and self-doubt more than I would like.  My son, however, is teaching me to live for half naked dance parties, midday naps and cuddles in bed, and kiss and smile sessions.  I hope that as he teaches me to live more fully and joyfully, I can nurture his natural inclinations so that he never loses his childhood wisdom and beautiful pure spirit.