I Got and I Don’t Got Rhythm

As a dancer married to a drummer, I notice rhythm everywhere, like when my windshield wipers beat in time to the song on the radio. I pride myself on being able to pick up difficult and diverse rhythms — Latin, African, waltz, jitterbug, Creole. I clap on the two and the four (the key is to take a step to the side on one, clap when you bring your feet together on two). One of my sweetest delusions when pregnant with my first child was that I thought for awhile that he was moving rhythmically in relation to my heartbeat; he was hicupping.

My household is run on rhythms: certain days the kids empty and fill the dishwasher, certain days are laundry days (with each part portioned out to different people), others grocery shopping days. Some days have a slow and gentle waltz rhythm, others are like frenetic tap dancing. I try to embrace each one.

So why do I resist establishing rhythms just for myself? I obsess about the family rhythms, constantly tweaking them to find what is working best at this stage in life, adjusting myself to changes in rhythm as the kids get older and my husband busier at work.

But a regular writing time? A regular devotional time? A disciplined approach to media consumption? Just for me.


Why is my rhythm the least steady? The first one to be broken into and taken over? I wouldn’t stand for that as a choreographer. Why am I standing for it in my life?

It isn’t just the family; it’s me; it’s my old friend Resistance; it’s my fear and overthinking.

But it’s just rhythm. A step on one before I clap on two that will ground me.

So maybe I stop thinking in terms of habit — a much more punitive word, and one I have a very mixed track record of success with. And starting thinking in terms of rhythm, something I can groove with, settle into the pocket of, something I can even choose to dance double-time or half-time if need be. I can mark it or dance full out, as necessary. Rhythm. Step on one.

[this post is my first participation in Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Fridays.]

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3 thoughts on “I Got and I Don’t Got Rhythm

    1. Thanks, Phyllis. I love how you teased out a totally different side of rhythm — silence. And how pauses are a necessary part of any rhythm.

  1. I love to dance and try to encourage that in my children, but for some reason “rhythm” took on the same meaning to me: life’s routines.

    As mothers, it does seem we sacrifice our rhythm for “the greater good”- to have clean underwear, food on the table, the decreased likelihood of a child melting down because their schedule was disrupted.

    Each week in summer, our schedule alters, so the music is constantly changing. Oh the plans I had, the great pauses built in for ME, just ME to finally get to what I want, more so than during the school year.

    Time that is now filled with dental work I suddenly need, oh and did I mentioned I AM TERRIFIED of the dentist.

    I’m hoping summer, which began so promising, changes its rhythm soon…

    Here from Five Minute Friday. Thanks for your comment too!

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