My husband and I are engaged in a dance that we do almost every day. No, it’s not THAT. We’re sharing the bathroom sink. Our movements are a study in choreography. As we move through our morning ablutions, we dip, turn, sidestep and glide, most of the time without missing a beat or saying a word. I’m standing at the left of the sink to dry my hair, he on the right, shaving, I silently step right to plug in the straight iron, as he glides left to take my spot. As he turns off the razor, I reach right and pass him the wastebasket. He back steps away from the drawer as I bend to put away the iron. I step away from the drawer as he reaches for the toothpaste. Now, we’re yin and yang, brush, rinse, spit, taking carefully synchronized turns. He uses cold water, I use warm. We slide the faucet back and forth – warm, cold, warm, cold. We’re Fred and Ginger, Bogie and Bacall. We match each other’s movements as carefully as if Balanchine had choreographed this routine.
The dance continues throughout the day – he picks up dry-cleaning, I fold laundry. He brings in the mail, I grab the paper. We stand side by side, slipping carefully wrapped sandwiches into Velcro lunch bags, slicing apples, each taking half. I scrape, he rinses; I wash, he dries. Occasionally there is a misstep – whether from fatigue, forgetfulness, some unknown ripple in the routine, who knows why? Then mail will sit in the box, there’s no clean socks, or someone gets toothpaste spit on their head.
This is the dance of the routine of life. It’s not just danced by couples and partners; it’s parents packing backpacks while children recite spelling words, it’s mothers rocking babies while toddlers pile up blocks; it’s juggling school, soccer and paper routes so families can sit down to dinner together. It’s a dance that requires tuning in to the conscious and subconscious themes of life. It’s taking two, three or more lives, and turning them into one. Most of the time it seems effortless, but make no mistake – it is work. It’s a work that we do for ourselves and each other to keep the flow of the dance of life.