There was a tiny plaque above the stove in my grandma’s kitchen. With the continuous movement of pots and pans, steam rising, it wasn’t always easy to see, and I’m sure it took me years to figure out what it meant, this small drawing of a very pregnant woman with the caption, “I should have danced all night.”
My mother was the second of nine children. She cried every time my grandma came home with another. She spent most of her childhood years washing those ever steaming pots, and changing diapers. Sometimes I imagine it was my mother who bought it, this plaque. Maybe scraping together her allowance and going to the crazy dayz sale at Ben Franklin. Pulling out this most appropriate sign from the brown paper grab bag, smiling, wishing, and then placing it in my grandma’s direct line of vision. But probably not. Or maybe it was my grandpa — seeing it at the gas station while picking up a tobacco pouch for the pipe he smoked to silence the constant noise of all those kids. But probably not. Or maybe it was my uncle Ron, the oldest of the nine. Surely he was the first to learn about the birds and the bees, and perhaps wanted to display his knowledge for all the house to see. But probably not.
Most likely it was my grandma. The constant dreamer. Thumbing through the Publisher’s Clearing House magazines. Seeing the plaque just above the notice, “You may already be a winner.”
We never really talked about it. So many things go unsaid in a growing house of 11. 11 that turned quickly into 38. And kept growing. I suppose this WAS the dance. This constant maneuvering between the crowding of dreams. The music of dishes forever clanking. Hearts beating and breaking and beating still. Hopes fed again and again by the comforts of home.
Maybe there is a tiny part of all of us that thinks we should change things. Would change things. But with the clarity of time and distance. With all of the love that still lingers above long abandoned pots… I think, probably not.
All is as it should be. Most certainly, always was. Always will be.