Each July, Mr. Andi attends a conference for work at a beach resort not too far from our home here in Mayberry, USA. I always attend the dinner event with him that is held on the last night, and most years Sarah Kate goes, as well. She isn’t known as Mr. Andi’s kid with cerebral palsy; instead she’s the social butterfly. Not only does she converse with the adults in the room, she usually strikes out on her own to find people to talk to, eventually making her way back to us when she’s ready.
The first year we went, she was five and enthusiastically joined in with limbo (the teenage girls holding the stick raised it for her each time she went by). She’s gained something of a…ahem…reputation for being entertaining at this event, so we were simultaneously anticipating and fearing what might happen this year. Mr. Andi isn’t a dancer, and I confine most of my moves to within the walls of our home, but Sarah Kate, on the other hand, was born with a need to boogie like nothing I’ve ever seen.
One of the first songs the band played was “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday” (yes, the 1969 classic by Spiral Staircase – she doesn’t need a Bieber tune to get her going!) Despite his aversion to dance floors, Mr. Andi got up to dance with Sarah Kate, and I dipped, swayed, and twirled with Nathan. Unfortunately, the offensive aroma of boy-poop wafted toward my nostrils, so when the song ended, Mr. Andi went to change him and Sarah Kate and I sat back down at the table.
“Am I gonna get to dance to more songs?”
I had spotted John, the executive director of the organization, dancing with his wife, Clay, during the first song. I did a quick mental calculation and determined using somewhat flimsy reasoning that maybe it was part of his job description to be a good host to the families of the member representatives.
“Mr. John might dance with you.”
Sarah Kate took off to ask Mr. John to dance, and he graciously obliged. When the song was finished, Sarah Kate returned to the table, her dancing feet still itching to move.
“Who can I dance with now?”
For the next hour and a half, Sarah Kate danced. She danced with our mayor. She danced with Mr. John’s wife. She danced with random teenage girls. She danced with various women whose husbands don’t dance, and some others that I’ve probably already forgotten. Although her feet don’t move quickly, they do move, and I am convinced that she could do a mean hula if she tried, as she has mastered the art of the booty shake while keeping every other muscle in her body completely still (a necessity so she doesn’t lose her balance).
Around 10:00 p.m., Mr. Andi took Nathan up to the room to put him to bed. The crowd, made up mostly of engineers and local political figures (read: not party animals) began to thin, but she continued to dance. She removed her shoes and left them on her chair at the table, where I sat watching, laughing, and fielding comments about her boundless enthusiasm. When she ran out of dance partners, I walked up to dance with her, but she waved me off with a confident smile and danced alone.
Band leader: “Are you ready to get funky?”
Sarah Kate nodded vigorously and then she pulled out a move I’d never seen before. She played the air guitar.
It’s hard to believe that three years ago we were worrying that she might require an aide for kindergarten.
She rocked the house.