don’t lose your twirl

When we were children most of us remember twirling around and around until we fell dizzily backwards onto the summer grass, eyes closed waiting for our heads to catch up with the rest of our bodies. That sort of happy/sick feeling inside twirling gave us made us want to do it again as soon as we could stand up straight. Unless, of course you had to stop because you twirled yourself right into a wall or table or your cousin’s head–  this is just hypothetical, of course.

Recently my daughter was twirling, as she is prone to do, when suddenly she stopped mid-twirl and told me quite frankly, “Mom, I hope I don’t lose my twirl.” For a second my heart froze. She was saying that she couldn’t imagine a time when she would no longer want to spin around furiously and swish her skirt in a very princessy sort of way. But to me it touched on a tender spot and I’ve pondered her words ever since.

Why do we grow up and lose our twirl, our sense of wonder and romance and endless possibility? Surely I wasn’t always this pragmatic–was I? No, I’m certain I wasn’t. I was like her– twirling around, dreaming about kissing my Prince on the lips and stuffing baby dolls up my shirt to pretending to be pregnant like mommy. I honestly thought I could be a princess some day. She’s like I was–twirling and all. She has big little girl dreams that she wants to see come true tomorrow. And honestly that scares me to death.

The truth is I can’t twirl anymore, not literally anyway. I get a little queasy just thinking about it. Something happened to me in my twenties to my head and now I get dizzy just staring up at the sky while I’m walking or watching 3D movies. And twirling? Not going to happen without me passing out. Or worse. So I guess you’d say I’ve lost my twirl. And lately it feels gone in more than in just a literal sense. Wonder, joy and awe replaced often with anxiety, fatigue and fear. Who can think of twirling when I’ve got all that holding my feet down like lead weights?

But this is not what I want for her. My dear, precious girl who is full of so much joy and kindness and determination. I want her to keep her innocence and free-spiritedness as long as possible–which seems increasingly difficult to manage in this world. Oh, that her heart would not be too bruised or damaged by others! But even if it is, I hope she can face these storms with the grace and fearlessness I’ve already seen in her.

This is the choice I hope she makes– to keep dreaming and dancing and loving with an open heart. To keep her twirl even when life is hard; when there are monkeys hanging around the neighborhood, the power is constantly going out and family and friends are far away. Again, speaking hypothetically.

And if by chance she ever loses her twirl, my deepest hope is that someday she would find it once again. Maybe I will, too.

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