The first thing we learned about E was that he loved to dance. Buckled in his carseat during rush hour traffic, in line for a Frosty at Wendy’s, on the concrete by the side of the pool, in a busy air-conditioned mall—it didn’t matter. Wherever he was, music and dancing were sure to follow.
For the better part of 2019, Josh and I provided weekend respite care for E and his twin sisters. We were in our second year of trying to get pregnant, and those weekends kept me going during what felt like a lifelong sentence of barrenness. The kids made me feel full, happy, alive. I loved their carefree spirits. I loved being a mother figure to them. I loved that they loved me back.
Almost every weekend found the five of us turning our tiny townhouse living room into a magnificent stage, blasting music and spinning around on the navy oriental rug from my grandma. On spring days we kept the windows open so that sunlight streamed in, and even the high-volume music couldn’t drown out the kids’ spontaneous giggles. In those moments I felt the weight of our fertility journey lift ever so slightly, even if just for the length of a four minute song.
The kids’ favorite movie soundtrack was, hands down, Moana. I remember twirling around the living room with one twin strapped to my front in a carrier and the other awkwardly positioned in my left arm, drawing a sense of much-needed resolve from the song Where You Are:
“Don’t walk away
Moana, stay on the ground now
Our people will need a chief and there you are
There comes a day
When you’re gonna look around
And realize happiness is where you are”
At one point I shared with a friend how much I loved that song, how inspirational I found it to be. She looked at me quizzically, as if I was joking. “You know it’s about the old-fashioned villagers, right? And how they want to keep Moana stuck on the island?”
I listened to the lyrics again, harder this time, and realized my friend was probably right. I had never interpreted it that way, though. To me it represented dancing and laughing and drawing a line in the sand, resolving to rejoice. I longed for children of my own so badly I felt the ache in the very marrow of my bones, and yet…
I had my gregarious husband, all six foot three of him, singing at the top of his lungs to a Disney soundtrack. I had E and the twins, spreading joy and exuberance and delight everywhere they went, despite difficult circumstances of their own. I had our living room and the oriental rug and the sunlight and Moana. Even here, maybe especially here, there could still be dancing.
“So here I’ll stay
My home, my people beside me
And when I think of tomorrow, there we are
I’ll lead the way
I’ll have my people to guide me
We’ll build our future together where we are
‘Cause every path leads you back to where you are
You can find happiness right where you are
Where you are”
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Lyrical”.