Dancing in the Kitchen; A Size 14 Sock


I was dancing with my daughter this morning, lurching left and right with my arms around her waist and her hands on my forearms.  I hummed the tune to an old “Sesame Street” song that she always seems to find delight in:

 “La, la, la, lamppost,
  La, la, la, la, lullaby,
  La, la, la, la light bulb,
  La, la, la, la, lumps in my oatmeal”…

She closes her eyes and squeals with delight as I hammer out the tune and swirl her around in circles across the kitchen.  These few moments seemed wonderful as we wait for the bus to come rumbling down our driveway.

I imagine that for any father of a 15 year old, dancing with his daughter is a special occasion to be cherished for a lifetime.  For me it’s more of a blessed respite.  The last few weeks have been some of the most trying days in our lives and we’ve been stretched to the point where returning to what we were, is physically impossible.  We’re size 9 socks with size 14 feet shoved into them; we’ll never be size 9 again.  To dance happily with my special needs daughter, to hear her laugh is more than an emotional episode – it’s a divine revelation, its Noah’s rainbow after two years on a filthy boat, it’s the sound of songbirds after a long winter.

Bethany was ill and the only way she can process the concept of pain is to inflict yet more pain, illogical to you and I but very logical to her.  The eye doctor said that her one good eye was “still in marvelous shape”, a big surprise given the beating she'd given herself over that last couple of weeks. Two full weeks that I'd much rather repress into the dark recesses of my brain than ever face again.

The final report card from that two week event nets me a D- in both Citizenship and English. I failed, I lost my head, I did everything wrong.  I guess that’s part of stretching beyond your current shape – about the time we reached “size 10”, I had nothing to base my reactions on so every response was emotional, not rational.  Size 11 and 12 had me cursing the God I loved. Size 13 and 14 put me to the point where I wished she’d end it all and kindly put us all out of her misery. At this point our marriage is at risk, our health, marginal and the safety of all, questionable – the teapot was about to explode.

Now, dancing with delight in the kitchen to music poorly offered by a tired and still confused father, delight takes center stage.  Happiness, for the moment is one thing we share and for the first time in a month I find myself hoping that the bus comes late. 

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