Tuesday 27th October 2020,
Inspired Girl

I Hope You Dance…a Tribute to the Original Inspirista, My Grandmother

Today is the 6 year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing. It feels like yesterday, yet it feels like a lifetime ago. My LuLu and Little Man and Niecey weren’t even with us yet, my husband and I were just friends at that time. Hard to believe.

My grandmother was an amazing woman. She was a ballroom dancer- she danced the night away at my brother’s wedding in 2002, danced up until her lungs wouldn’t allow her to, she always kept her hair brown and lipstick on, she loved the dragonfly, and she had a healing smiling.

No matter how old I got, when I was in my grandmother’s kitchen I always felt like the little girl playing dress up in her 20′s frocks putting on her pink Mary Kay lipstick compact, singing songs and dancing about the white tile floor.

She was a healthy, vibrant, positive woman. When her much younger friends would come over and complain about the usual stuff, my grandmother would say, “C’mon, ladies!” and push a button on her plastic flower pot that would sing and dance. Yes, she was the original “Inspirista“.

But, truthfully, I miss her. And I know my mom misses her dearly. They were as close as my mom and I are, and I just can’t imagine.

The day my grandmother was put into hospice, everyone went to the hospital to visit. My parents, my brother and his wife, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends…all gathered around her. The doctor said she would probably be there a couple of weeks.

As the night was getting later, and my grandmother fell asleep, around 11pm, my family huddled to make a plan who would stay with her when- we didn’t want her to be alone. The plan began with my mother coming back first thing in the morning, and then everyone taking turns from then. But, looking at my grandmother sleeping peacefully in the bed, I couldn’t bear to leave her alone for even the night.

“Let’s stay, mom.” I said under my breath softly. And my mom smiled. And so we stayed.

For a few hours, there was not much happening. While she slept, my mom and I took turns getting coffee, vending machine snacks, crying, laughing, talking. But then, my grandmother woke up. She was dry and needed water. This went on for hours, she couldn’t quench her thirst. Finally she fell back asleep.

Early that morning, my grandmother opened her eyes and looked at both me on her left and my mother to her right, then passed on to the Lord while holding our hands.

The sadness paralyzed me. I felt my back stiffen, and for 3 days could barely move. Incredible how our heart, mind, and body is so intertwined.

Almost a year to the day, Michael and I were married:

In April, our LuLu, Millana (her name in honor of my beautiful, strong, inspiring Grandma Millie) was born:

Two years later, our Little Man came into the world, and was photographed by my dear friend Jessica . Ewing is hugging my husband’s arm where he has a tattoo of all of our names wrapped around a dragonfly:

Millana is now 4 1/2. She often sings, and today, she made up a song about dancing. I pictured my grandmother, and remembered the song we played at our wedding for her:

I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth making

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance
(Where those years have gone)

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Dance
I hope you dance
(Dance)
I hope you dance
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance
(Where those years have gone)

Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder
(Dance)
Where those years have gone
(Dance)

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About The Author

writer. speaker. dreamer. foodie. late night blogger. wife. mother. believer. Founder of Inspirista Lifestyle Design + Co-Founder of The Domesticated Dad + Author of Balance Book & Little Miss Negative...

3 Comments

  1. kim sisto robinson January 12, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Lovely, Lovely post. :)

    • Jennifer Tuma-Young January 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

      Thank you, Kim! I usually post the lyrics to the song “I Hope You Dance” on 1-12, but inspired by your strength and honesty, this year I decided to break my heart open again and share a bit more about my grandmother. ;)

      You are a gem to writers, women, people everywhere!

      Warmly,
      Jennifer

  2. Terry Grahl January 14, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Thank you so much Jen for sharing your heart. Your grandma was an amazing woman!

    ox T

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