It can cut you like a knife, if the gift becomes the fire 


I remember sitting on the floor of our rental home, watching my mother’s feet pound against the carpet. Arms swinging, head turning, sweat pouring, she’d turn the volume up so loud our windows would rattle against the rhythm of the record player.

She’s a maniac….maniac I sure know.

A smile would curl her lips and her feet would move to the beat and I would see what it looks like to lose yourself. Her breath would catch and she’d take a swig of TAB before prancing over, grabbing my hands to pull me close.

“they all think she’s crazy….” she’d sing in the off-key way of hers and I’d giggle as we turned in dizzying circles around the living room. Leaning close, I’d breathe in her scent and catch a little of what it means to chase a dream – to lock rhythms with the beat of your heart.

It felt a little like coming to life.

This tunnel vision of hers morphed into other things as our family grew. Trips to WalMart, grocery shopping, cooking, separating laundry – in the more mundane happenings of day-to-day life, my mother knew how to lose herself in the rhythm. In a way, I watched her grow up as well. Mother and wife at nineteen, she moved and altered herself as much as possible to make sure we knew what it meant to fall into our own pattern.

At 30 years old, I see this in myself. 

I am my mother’s daughter in the most literal sense: put music on with a beat and I can’t sit still. Her generation had Flashdance and Pointer Sisters and Footloose. For me? Put on So You Think You Can Dance, any variation of a Step Up movie, or America’s Best Dance Crew and the corner of my lips slowly curl in that Harmon way. 

I am my mother’s daughter in the way of learned patterns: I lose myself in the rhythms of life. Days fly by and before I know it, months move past me on the calendar and I’m staring at a new year, wondering what it’ll bring and hoping the tunnel vision way of setting my feet firm on an idea will serve its purpose.

I haven’t always appreciated this part of my mother’s personality. There were more than a few occasions (namely: weddings) where the pull of a dance floor made me roll my eyes when she kicked off her heels and danced unabashedly with no concern for who was watching. And I’m sure there were moments where, with history repeating itself, she pranced her way over to me only to get a firm shake of my head before she pulled me out with her.

But, as it always happens, we gain a little understanding as we get older. And now, facing the possibility of a having a daughter myself, I hope and pray to spend evenings with me pulling her close to my chest and spinning wildly around the living room as I teach her what it means to dance through life as a maniac full of hope and love and life.


  1. Oh, this is a fun journey you’re on, Elora. I’ve found far more excitement and embarrassment in seeing my kids become like me than I ever did when I realized I was my father’s son. Thanks for this peek into your world.

  2. I love this. This is my mama, too (but she danced to praise ‘n’ worship or gospel songs instead). Dancing in the back of the church auditorium, all heart. When she danced was the only time I remember her not caring what people thought.

  3. LOVE this! Thanks for the 80s flashback. Those were good days and I can see my mom and I dancing around the living room right about now, too! ; )

  4. Elizabeth Larson-DiPippo

    This brought a flood of tears to my eyes as I listen to my little girls play in the other room. I so longed for my mom to pull me in close and spin me in circles. I hope that one day my girls have memories of me doing for them what I wanted done for me. Thank you for this today.

  5. Elora, Love this! What a great relationship and realization!

  6. What a gift it is to be the Mama. So happy this is your future soon!

  7. Bobbie Edwards

    Made me cry and smile at the same time. Beautifully written. I could see the image as I read. I love your bio. I’m at the beginning of writing my memoir after procrastinating many years now and reading the words that stories can change the world has given me new encouragement. Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories
    God bless.


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