Mapping Memory Lane: Dancing with the Stars

Where do you begin when a story’s final chapter wrapped things up so perfectly? I haven’t wanted to write this. It is the final thing on my list from an experience that was so gratifying words won’t do it justice. I danced. I pranced around in a room full of people, to music and moving in a way I never have before. I did it with a huge grin on my face even though part of the dance was supposed to be serious, and I did it for a good cause. I got so much more from that night than Easter Seals did.

Easter Seals did get a lot. They raised more money than last year. They exposed their work and community to new people and spheres – that hopefully now go forward knowing about the important work Easter Seals does for disabled kids and families. They built community and did so in an innovative and fun way. As the dancers sat in the green room, chatting and laughing before the event, I was struck by how lucky we all were to be able to share in such an evening and how many new people I met from saying yes to participating.

Then came the dancing part. In the end, it was exhilarating and fun. It was the culmination of months of practice and mental bandwidth as I pondered how I ended up committed to dance in the first place. It would have been easier to dance for strangers, but my incredibly generous mother-in-law purchased a table so my cheering section consisted of her, plus four of my sister-in-laws, my husband, two kids, niece, and dear friend Marni, who set fire to the voting cards and did my make-up – both of which caused equivalent amounts of excitement, at various parts of the evening (I “donated” my false eyelashes to an IRL meeting which in hindsight was quite bizarre, but I can own that). There were also enough familiar faces in the crowd to make it seem like a #ygk tweet up.

When I talked with the Easter Seals ambassador afterwards, she told me I didn’t look nervous when I was dancing. I told her she inspired me, because she had sung a lovely song to open the evening. As she beamed at me, I was thankful for kid1 joining the conversation. I didn’t know how to speak around the lump I had in my throat. There were many moments in the evening, that I have tucked away. Like getting to dance to Moon River with Jeff – it was our first dance at our wedding. Like seeing my “white hat” friend Roger dance a Viennese Waltz and do a fantastic job. Like seeing kids 1 and 2 jump out of their seats when Josef and I won the People’s Choice Award, clapping and beaming with pride.

Overall in the end, I was left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, which is where you come in. If you are reading this you crossed paths with me talking, tweeting, or writing about the event. You may have voted for Josef and me prior to, or sent words of encouragement on days I was questioning the wisdom of dancing in a costume I bought on eBay. Thank you for participating. Thank you for being part of something that sends out such positive ripples of community, support, and good will. Thank you for giving. As I tootle off to whatever next adventure life will present, I leave you with our dance. I’m proud of how we did. I am more proud of the trophy we won than I thought I would be. I’m very proud I said “yes.”

Thank you’s to add – always a tricky thing, as you never want to forget someone, but here goes nothing!

Thank you Jeff. You covered things at home while I gallivanted around to dance practices. You measured me for my costume, which was humbling and bonding and let’s not do that again. You cheered for me and were our first votes. I think you like me. That makes me happy.

Thank you Josef. I have thanked you often, and will continue to do so. Your patience and sense of humour made this experience so fun and heart warming. You are a gift of a person. I don’t say that about many people, but it is true. Thank you Vlasta – you shared your dance partner with me. The day you helped up with our choreography was one I won’t forget. I love your spirit and how you can see movement in music.

Thank you Einarson clan. I married into a generous, rambunctious, enthusiastic bunch of people devoted to family, community, and fun. Not only did you rock the silent auction, your support and cheer helped me win a big shiny trophy and helped Easter Seals kids and families. You rock.

Thank you Di and Marie, dearies – working with you is just lovely and your enthusiasm and pep talks right up to the moment I danced were invaluable!

Thank you Roger. Two madcap adventures down, how many more to go. You did a fantastic job and you have moves I would have totally expected from Jack Bauer.

Thank you Krista. You and the Easter Seals team made participating a rewarding experience and your jobs truly make a difference. You should be very proud.

Thank you Marni. A girl needs a friend who can squeeze her into a foundation garment, paint her face, and point her in the direction of adventure. You brought your usual energy and shine to the night. I was so glad you were there!

Thank you Shari, Moira and Rob, Will and Diane, John, Pete, Tommy, Rich, Bryant. You are all that is awesome about #ygk and your community spirit inspires me. I love it when our paths cross. Matt, Naila, Kathy, Tim – what a grand adventure we shared!

Thank you kid1 and kid2. Yes I did this for Easter Seals, but I also did it for you. I know you saw me gripe about practices but still go. I know you saw me trying to do something I wasn’t good at but not giving up. I know you saw me in a funny skirt moving in a funny way, but your faces shone with pride and you clapped so hard for me I thought my heart would burst. Say yes, my kidlets. Say yes and help where you can. You will take much more from the experience than you give, and you will be richer for it.

Me and my  heartbeats.

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3 Responses to Mapping Memory Lane: Dancing with the Stars

  1. Awwww! What a wonderful wrap-up post! You did fantastic, and YOU inspired ME!

  2. Theresa says:

    Congratulations, Julie! Sounds like it was a wonderful event and you had a blast. What a super combination.

  3. Sandra says:

    You are an inspiration Julie, one of a kind ! Love you girl, will miss you next year !! Xx

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