It was a song popular in the year 2000 and became the anthem for mothers to their daughters. Naturally my mom was one of those and she always turned it up when it came on the radio, saying she hoped I would dance. She even got me the lyric book with the CD so I could always remember the power behind those four words. As a rebellious teenager who hated everything and knew nothing about life at the time, it was utterly embarrassing and never meant that much to me.
Until she was gone.
And on my wedding day, the day a girl needs her mom by her side, my sister’s stood up in her absence and played this song for me, saying they knew she wanted it as our mother daughter dance if I ever got married. It brought tears, because I missed her and I could see her welling up as she sang the words in my mind. But I still never truly understood the power of it until I became a mother to two beautiful little ladies.
And then I knew. And I felt the weight she was carrying every time she said those words.
It is said way too often, but motherhood really changes you. You don’t understand until you are a mother exactly how much your heart was meant to love until tiny pieces of your heart turn into actual human beings. How scared, and happy, and overall emotional you can be about another person until it’s your person. I never knew what the song was supposed to mean until I applied it to my own daughters.
The song says to “never fear those mountains in the distance“… When I see my girls, I know they will face challenges beyond my control. They will have to go places that I can’t follow. And I pray they aren’t as scared as I was. I pray that they have the courage to follow their dreams. To know they have the power to move mountains if they only believe they can.
“Living might mean taking chances, but they’re worth taking. Loving might be a mistake, but it’s worth making…” As much as it pains me, they will be hurt. They will have their hearts ripped to shreds by unrequited love. They will try and fall on their face. And it will kill me to see them get hurt. But it’s in the valleys that they will grow, and feeling love even for a moment is worth the pain. Because to love is everything. To put your heart out there is more important than if someone accepts it. Failing is going to happen, but failing is when you learn who you are.
“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder, you get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger…” To our children, everything in this world is amazing. And we lose that as we get older, which is so sad. I want them to look at everything and see possibility. To find the good in everything and everyone and not let the bad parts of life beat them down into cynical, boring adults. We have enough of those already.
“May you never take one single breath for granted…” Life is a gift, and every day we have is a day we need to be thankful for. I want them to wake up each morning, grateful to have the chance to be better, to do better, to love, to laugh and to grow.
“Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens, promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance….” When bad things happen, because unfortunately they will, and they get knocked down, I hope they find the will to get back up again. Learn from it, grow from it, but don’t let it stop them. They will wonder if they are good enough, if they are strong enough, and no matter how much I tell them they are worthy of greatness, they will need to figure that out for themselves. And I really really hope they do.
So, to my two amazing, beautiful, charismatic offspring, the girls who I hope to watch grow up and conquer the world…I know you won’t understand it just yet, but as my Momma once told me, “I hope you dance”…