60 Days On the Mat — Day 39: Could I Have This Dance?


Dad and MeOne – Two – Hold – One – Two – Hold.  

Just follow me.  

One – Two – Hold – One – Two – Hold.  

Just follow me.  

Sometimes we would dance to big band music, sometimes it was Willie Nelson; many times it was Frank Sinatra.  When Urban Cowboy was big we danced to Anne Murray singing Could I Have This Dance?  

I went to the mat today for two and a half hours.  Yes, you read that right.

After editing and getting my work schedule organized for the rest of the month, I hit the mat for a one-hour private with Ellen before my regular Thursday class.  We worked on three things:  chaturanga jump backs, crow pose and handstands.  It was incredibly productive.  Privates are always useful when you hit a plateau or want to move to the next level in certain poses.

After 38 days in a row, I was in need of a tune-up.

Like many girls, my first dance partner was my Daddy.  We never had official ‘lessons’. They were always impromptu, generally in the kitchen.  On more than one occasion they were in the kitchen while helping him bake chocolate chip cookies.  He has always made the chocolate chip cookies.

I received a few notes and emails.  My Mom thought I was hard on her ‘little girl’ and my Dad made sure I knew she was only 19 in that picture I posted yesterday.  I know.  I still think she’s beautiful — at 19 or 65.  And yes, I think I’m beautiful, too.  My self-esteem is in tact everyone, this is one of the many benefits of being 43.  I am most happily me.

And Hannah’s right, I do look just like her, and upon further review, my forehead is not any bigger — but the pores on my nose are, and I do feel almost a head taller than her, even though it’s only a few inches.

My friend Michelle said she thought her Mom looked like Mary Tyler Moore, too.  Maybe all of our moms looked liked Mary Tyler Moore on some level.  After all, she was a role model for an entire generation of women.

Mom and Me -- 2005

Before class started, I was lying on the mat letting the thoughts flow in and out.  On the way to yoga I was listening to classic country and Could I Have This Dance? came on the radio.  It got me to thinking about all those early dance lessons with my Dad.

We held an upper-backbend on the blocks at the beginning of class.  It felt really good after all of the strength work I had just completed.

For the entire class I was marinating in strength and placement and endurance.

Strength. Placement. Endurance.

All qualities of a good dancer.  All qualities of a good yogi.  All important qualities of a good life.

There was an opening in the front of my shoulders and across my chest as we held upper backbends.  I tapped into strength to keep my hands in the air.  Placement to prevent soreness tomorrow.  Endurance allowed me to hold for the duration.

Dad and Me - WeddingI repeated this mantra to myself throughout class.  Every pose.  Every stretch.

Let me lead you.  You can feel it.  Look at me and just feel it.  

I placed my arms around my Daddy and let him lead me around the kitchen, Anne Murray singing in the background.

I’ll always remember the song they were playin’
The first time we danced and I knew
As we swayed to the music and held to each other
I fell in love with you

I guess every girl’s first love is always her Daddy, especially if he is as wonderful as mine.

We would stop for awhile and manage the cookies.  We were either taking them out of the oven and lining them across the kitchen countertops on paper towels, or we were putting a new batch in the oven.  And we were eating lots of warm cookies in between.

Could I have this dance for the rest of my life
Would you be my partner every night
When we’re together it feels so right
Could I have this dance for the rest of my life

No matter how old we get.  If you’re a girl lucky enough to have grown up with a wonderful Daddy — well, he is the dance you compare all other dances to for the rest of your life.  Even after you marry the dance you will hopefully have for the rest of your life.

He’s always there, saying:

One – Two – Hold.  One – Two – Hold.  Follow me.  Just follow me.

Sometimes, with big band music it was:

One – Two – Three.  One – Two – Three.  Follow me.  Just follow me.

In shavasana I covered up from head to toe with a blanket.  I could feel all of strength in my body as the muscles began to let go.  There is a particular feeling in the body when you’ve spent the day using your muscles in new ways.  That is how I felt today.  I almost went to sleep on the mat from exhaustion.  A good exhaustion.

Learning to dance is a lot about letting go.  Learning to live is a lot about letting go, too.

As I drove home, I thought about our first public dance.  It was in the Rainbow Room in New York City.  My Dad had flown in to meet me there when I went with a group from CATS in high school.  He took my roommates and me on a carriage ride and for Shirley Temples in the Rainbow Room.  We danced to big band music for several songs.

One – Two – Three.  One – Two – Three.  Follow me.  Just follow me.

I did.  I always did.  Until I started following Jonathan.

But, of course, if he wants to come over and make chocolate chip cookies and do the two-step in the kitchen, he’ll always have a willing partner.

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