Shake It Off!

dogMonday was so a mid-August day. I was cranky; the kids were cranky; it was hot; and I kept wondering what the dog days of summer really meant. I thought if I could figure out what that term meant I might not throttle anyone with my annoyance.

But I knew the dog days of summer were not responsible for my crankiness.You see Sunday we had family over for brunch to “celebrate” the anniversary of my beloved brother-in-law’s death thirteen or so years ago. Celebrate is of course the wrong word. But we do this every year, and afterwards I’m filled with this seething anger that can’t seem to be properly channeled. Post-brunch, I biked for an hour and a half and did yard work and took a walk along a crowded happy beach and still found myself choked up all day Monday.

I cried as I drove to the grocery store. My husband called me at lunch time and we bemoaned his brother’s death once again. How is it that someone we adored and loved and who adored and loved us is still dead all these years later? How is it that there is no replacement for adoration and love like that?

How is it that the news of the world that Monday hit me where it hurts? I turned off the exterior news-feeds because war in Iraq and police brutality and martial law in the U.S. only fed my own personal sadness. I so often tussle with being an informed citizen who can’t handle the news. My own anxiety means turning off the news-feed is my own best option.

All I know is Monday was hard, but at 8:30 that evening I remembered a morsel of not-vital news that sounded like just what I needed. I recalled an acquaintance posting the news of a new Taylor Swift song and video. At the very least, I owed my children (who had put up with cranky mom all day long) a bit of fun right about then. I decided to preview “Shake It Off” for them.

Finally glee found me. There was Taylor joking around for the camera and there were dancers moving joyfully and there were normal people in colorful clothing dancing like no one was watching. But I was watching, and soon enough my girls and husband were watching, and finally I could shake off the last two days of sadness. Break-dancing, silly riffs on Swan Lake and twerking, and the idea of normal people finding their space to cut loose — yup, the prefect anecdote to my own version of two August dog days of summer.

I won’t lie. The rest of the week has been long, too. The news-feed has only gotten darker and my brain has been scattered as it so often is this time of year. That’s why last night I started to sing “Shake It Off” to my nine-year-old and we danced. Soon enough, my husband showed us his break-dance moves, and Annie joined in, spinning on the floor. And we shook the day off with laughter and dancing.





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