Dance like nobody’s watching

Tonight is prom night.

Our family’s fifth prom, and our last.

My 17-year-old son is driving his date and another couple in our 1978 VW bus. They’re in for a fun night of eating, talking, laughing – and, I hope, dancing.

I remember (though barely!) my prom night, eons ago. It was fun, for sure, and I’ve been married to the boy I went with for nearly 30 years now. But the one thing I regret is not dancing at the big dance.

I was too self-conscious to dance in public when I was in high school. In my bedroom, listening to the radio? I’d dance up a storm. In my father’s den, listening to records on his hi-fi stereo? I’d kick up my heels like crazy!

But I was paralyzed when it came to dancing in front of other people. I was sure I’d look stupid, goofy, uncoordinated, and awful. So I’d stand on the edge of the dance floor, tapping my foot and maybe snapping my fingers.

I wish I had all those chances to dance to do over. Because now, I would dance like crazy.

It’s not that I’ve become a more skillful dancer. If anything, I’m probably worse. The difference is that now I don’t give a hoot how I look, so long as I’m having fun.

That’s one difference. The other difference, the real reason I would dance with wild abandon if I had the chance, is that now I understand, deep in my heart, that my dancing days are numbered. Every passing year means fewer days to dance. I have come to love dancing and appreciate my continued ability to do so, despite my having multiple sclerosis.

So, tonight, I hope my son will rock his tux. I hope he’ll hug lots of friends and get lots of kisses. I hope he’ll travel safely and use his best judgment. And, yes, I hope my boy will dance, dance, dance.
 

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Jennifer

Jennifer LaRue Huget, Blogger

Jennifer LaRue Huget was diagnosed with MS in 2001. A freelance writer and children's book author, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, two teenage kids, and two brown dogs. Her website is www.jenniferlaruehuget.com.

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    8 Comments

  • diane   May 31, 2014 10:34 AM
    I share your wish for all. To dance like no one is watching!
  • Tara   May 31, 2014 10:52 AM
    My 40th birthday party next year is going to be a prom-themed MS fundraiser. Reading this made me happy and brought tears to my eyes. I never got to go to my senior prom or dance with the guy who would have taken me. This time around my date will be the love of my life, who has MS, and I'm sure our dance will be as awkward and awesome as it would be if we were teens. Thank you for making me look forward to my next birthday!
  • marsha   May 31, 2014 12:28 PM
    I was a dancer with a partner or a broom. When the MS showed it's ugly symptom of balance, I knew something was wrong when I closed my eyes. So now, I'm a dancer in my chair. Rock on waist up!
  • Elaine   Jun 1, 2014 12:03 PM
    Still married to my Prom date after 46 years.
  • capitolcarol   Jun 2, 2014 1:50 PM
    Jennifer, I also share your wish for all. I hope everybody will have an opportunity to dance at their proms or actually any occasion. I remember so long ago how much fun it was to get alll dressed up, laugh, giggle, and most importantly dance like there is no tomorrow. I have such fond memories.

    It is horrible that MS has robbed some of us of our balnace and coordination. We can still and in our minds and dreams.
  • razel20  Jun 3, 2014 8:17 PM
    I've never been a big dancer myself. But when my daughter was about 1, I would run around the house with her in my arms dancing to Smash Mouth:) She would giggle and giggle, and laugh, and ask me to keep going. I would lay on the floor catching my breath with her sitting on me asking for more.

    I can't do that anymore, 1) because now she's 14 and doesn't take to that stuff anymore, 2) like so many others, MS has taken my balance and abilty to move like that away. I like to dance, I like to dance with my wife, we don't get to do it much anymore, but I do enjoy it.

    But the 1 dance I look forward to, and hope my body will hold out for, is the one I will have with her on her Wedding Day. I pray my body holds on. And that is the Dance I will Dance, like everyone is watching us.
  • Avatar
    anne2104  Jun 17, 2014 9:08 AM
    The two main things I miss since getting MS is dancing and driving. I still dance holding on to a chair or a partner. I dance because it brings me such joy. I have my own style (lol). I think dance therapy would be very beneficial as a therapy.
  • Avatar
    anne2104  Jun 17, 2014 9:10 AM
    The two main things I miss since getting MS is dancing and driving. I still dance holding on to a chair or a partner. I dance because it brings me such joy. I have my own style (lol). I think dance therapy would be very beneficial as a therapy.