Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Dance

I remember my heart skipping a beat the first time I heard it mentioned. It was on my answering machine, two days before camp started. Some man I didn't yet know calling to tell me the theme for the dance at camp would be "the 80's". I'm sorry, the WHAT? Fortunately, he called twice - once for each of my kids, so I had the opportunity for the idea to sink in. A dance. My kids at a dance. Oh boy...

At least I'd be there.... My thoughts then shifted to the 80's. What did we wear? I lived through those years, but certainly don't remember what we wore. I threw in a shirt for my boy and dance outfit for my girl. It would have to do.

The night arrived. After dinner, everyone scampered back to their cabins to prepare. One by one people began to gather on "the patio". I looked at their get ups. Every so often, I'd see one that I knew had nailed the period. I looked and understood why I'd repressed those memories! Yowza! Viva la "Flashdance"!!

I was also very aware that night that I was one of two people who was old enough to remember the 80's. From someone used to being "the baby" in the crowd, it was a little unsettling. When I realized that some of the kids' PARENTS were still in diapers in the early 80's, I quit pondering it so deeply.

It was warm that evening. They had brought fans and big buckets of ice water for the campers to keep cool. Once everything was prepared, it began! Songs that I haven't heard in as many years blared through the speakers. Michael Jackson. Bon Jovi. It started with an ice breaker, then some free dance time and of course a competition between the two rival groups within the camp: The Blackhawks and The Thunderbirds.

The kids laughed and danced. I wandered around taking pictures. I went in search of my son, since I know how he loves to move to music! It's usually pretty amusing! I found him with his first partner - the broom and laughed out loud. OK, this might not be so bad. I'd found my daughter with her cabin-mates circled around, dancing, until the second she saw me. She then stopped and pointed her "don't look at me!!" finger my direction.

I spent more time taking pictures, embarrassing my daughter and waving to the kids who had a tendency towards homesickness. All seemed well.

I stepped outside briefly to cool off, dab a few cotton balls in ice water to hand to the kids to help them cool off as well. Cool kids equal non-upset tummies, which equals fewer visits to me - the nurse - after the dance.

The music changed, the tempo slowed. I recognized the melody of Garth Brooks' song "The Dance". I went back inside, intending to touch base with my children to see how they were enjoying themselves.

When I saw my son, I froze. There he was, slow dancing. With. A. Girl. Now, don't get me wrong, I WANT him to dance with girls, .... one day.... I was just hoping for a little more warning. I just stood and watched for a while, totally at a loss for the right words, or even the right thoughts. Do I let him continue? Do I cut in? He was doing a good job at following the D.J.'s directions to "keep space for Jesus", and he was doing a good job at dancing. But still.... oh my.

On the tails of having finished the book on raising Godly boys in an ungodly world, it made me very aware at how quickly my children are growing up. Right before my very eyes!

I got to ask some questions later. "What's her name?" "I don't know...." "Don't you think you should?"

He got to tell me "the girls want to dance with me because they think I'm cute", which opened up a whole 'NOTHER conversation about how people look at us compared to how God looks at us. To his credit, he did know that God looks at the heart and that it's more important what God sees than what people see.

The night continued - the girls continued to fight over my boy.... literally. I continued to watch, protectively.

As he danced the last song - another slow one - again, with "room for Jesus" in between them - I stood there and prayed in ASL (American Sign Language).

"Protect my son.

Give us both wisdom.

Help me to know how and when to have the conversations we will need to have, and please, please, please give me the words..."

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