From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

Dance with Me

When we’re young and we dream of love and fulfillment, we think perhaps of moon-drenched Parisian nights or walks along the beach at sunset.

No one tells us that the greatest moments of a lifetime are fleeting, unplanned and nearly always catch us off guard.

Not long ago, as I was reading a bedtime story to my seven-year-old daughter, Annie, I became aware of her focused gaze. She was staring at me with a faraway, trancelike expression. Apparently, completing The Tale of Samuel Whiskers was not as important as we first thought.

I asked what she was thinking about.

“Mommy,” she whispered, “I just can’t stop looking at your pretty face.”

I almost dissolved on the spot.

Little did she know how many trying moments the glow of her sincerely loving statement would carry me through over the following years.

Not long after, I took my four-year-old son to an elegant department store, where the melodic notes of a classic love song drew us toward a tuxedoed musician playing a grand piano. Sam and I sat down on a marble bench nearby, and he seemed as transfixed by the lilting theme as I was.

I didn’t realize that Sam had stood up next to me until he turned, took my face in his little hands and said, “Dance with me.”

If only those women strolling under the Paris moon knew the joy of such an invitation made by a round-cheeked boy with baby teeth. Although shoppers openly chuckled, grinned and pointed at us as we glided and whirled around the open atrium, I would not have traded a dance with such a charming young gentleman if I’d been offered the universe.

Jean Harper

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