As I was driving on an unseasonably warm March day recently, I was catapulted back in time. It happened as I sat at a stop light, sun roof open, sunlight pouring in. I momentarily closed my eyes and allowed the sun's rays to dance upon my face. My eyelids, drenched in golden deliciousness, filtered out the mundane world around me, and in an instant, everything else ceased to exist. I was five-years-old again, lying on the living room floor in my blue jeans with the worn out knees and my favorite Big Bird t-shirt. I lie there with my round, youthful face turned toward the window overhead, and my brunette curlicues spilling across the gold shag carpet.
My body warmed in that blanket of sunlight, as my mind experienced a peaceful knowing that I was in the presence of something more powerful, more immense than anything on earth, even if at that age, I was unable to put words to it. In the sun’s ethereal embrace, I knew I was loved—protected, understood.
Slowly, I opened my eyes and watched as tiny dust particles caught on the rays of sunshine. They floated and danced, like fairies, to their own graceful orchestra. I tried to catch them with my tiny hands, but they teased and eluded me. I decided, instead, to join them.
Together, those tiny particles and I danced and twirled, floated and swayed, in the sun’s radiant embrace. In those days, there was no judgment. No anxiety over the future. No responsibilities or worries. Just pure joy, as only a child can experience.
A car horn beeps and I am thrust forward thirty years. As I sit behind the wheel of my SUV, dressed in teacher attire, a tote bag full of papers and assessments, sits like a passenger, in the seat beside me. I sigh deeply as I feel the joyful childhood memory slipping through my fingers, which are now wrapped around the steering wheel.
Thirty miles and 15 stop lights later, pull into the long driveway, which welcomes me home. I turn the key in the lock and push open the front door. High heels flip off in a tired heap on the door mat.
Brimming tote bag is dropped into the corner. I notice the light blinking on the answering machine; observe the breakfast crumbs scattered on the kitchen floor. My cell phone chimes, signaling a new text message. The mail on the counter screams that the bills are waiting to be paid.
I glance around the room. Afternoon sunlight pours in through the naked windows, creating an illuminated pathway to my favorite overstuffed chair. I pad over to it, in my bare feet. As I do, my black pinstripe skirt transforms into familiar blue jeans with the worn out knees. My button down blouse morphs into the Big Bird t-shirt. My neat, cropped haircut becomes a mop of ringlets. My face becomes fuller and youthful once again.
I crawl into the chair, which now seems much larger than I remember. I cast my gaze toward the window and watch as the familiar dust particles begin their waltz. I close my eyes, beckoning my old friend to warm me once more, and allow myself to travel to that special place where all is safe, all is understood; the special place that exists within all of us, if only we allow ourselves to let go.
And dance in the sunlight.
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