How The Macarena Saved My Life

Don’t mess with a knight in plastic armor.

“Don’t move!,” my captor snarled at me in the dark, small dungeon. “Don’t even blink!”

How could I argue? Mice nipped at my heels, the walls closed in around me. And the aggressor, dressed in a knight’s helmet, wielded a sword. A sword! It stabbed at my arms, legs, and abdomen. “Your blood is dripping on the floor,” I was informed. Well, that sealed the deal. I was staying put.

“Somebody saved me!,” I screamed, but nobody came. “Be quiet!,” the masked knight ordered, finally revealing its face. A girl! A little girl! Are you serious? This half-pint was holding me hostage? “Come on, ” I argued, “Just let me go and I won’t cause any trouble.”

She stabbed me again, slicing open my arm. “Ahhh!!!” But my cries were drowned out…by a familiar beat. Louder and louder the music played. I listened closely to the lyrics…

When I dance they call me Macarena
And the boys they say que estoy buena
They all want me, they can’t have me
So they all come and dance beside me

Was that…The Macarena?! Seriously?! First, I’m stabbed and verbally berated, then I’m mentally tortured by bad music. “Somebody please get me out of here!,” I yelled, only to be beaten by four more tiny hands. The girl knight was joined by two more minions, each no taller than the ringleader. I was shocked by their cruelty. They were laughing at me while they were beating me with tiny fists and feet. Laughing! “Don’t freak your eyes out!,” one of the new captors yelled at me. “What does that even mean?,” I asked her. “Be quiet!,” was the reply.

It was obvious I couldn’t overtake them physically. I was outnumbered after all. I was going to have to resort to mind games. But, with a combined age of 10, surely I could outsmart them. I flailed my arms out to my side, rested my head against the dungeon wall, and exhaled the phrase they wanted to hear. “I’m dying…you’ve killed me…”

I closed my eyes nearly all the way, still barely able to see them. I didn’t move a muscle. Hardly even breathed. Stunned, they glanced at each other, unsure what to do next. One captor, who eerily resembled my young daughter, looked genuinely concerned. “Is she really dead?,” she asked her cohorts.

Now was my chance. But what to do? I let the music guide me. I popped open my eyes, and before they could attack…

Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena:
I extended my right arm, then my left, then turned them over one by one…
Que tu cuerpo es pa’ darle alegria cosa buena:
I put my hands behind my head, right hand then left…
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria, Macarena:
I crossed my arms over my torso, put my hands on my hips…
Hey Macarena!
Then turned in a quick circle with my right arm extended above my head!

The posse, surprised by my outburst, shrieked with laughter, one girl even falling to the floor in hysterics. Faster, faster I danced! Again, and again!

“Stop!,” the ringleader pleaded with me. “Please just stop dancing! You’re free to go!”

I bolted out the door, but not before one of the girls grabbed me by the leg and exclaimed, “You’re funny mom!”

(This is a true story. The captors were my nieces and daughter. The dungeon was in the playroom at a local museum. The music blared from the wedding dance of a relative in the nearby reception hall. Truth really is stranger than fiction.)


To Rachel On Your Wedding Day


May you always be this happy. May he always sweep you off your feet. Or at least sweep the kitchen floor. That’s pretty darn romantic, too.


To my dearest cousin Rachel, 

How I wish I could be with you today. To see your glorious smile in person as you walk down the aisle and start the next chapter in your life. Fondly, I remember the many days and nights we spent together at Grandma and Grandpa’s, spying on our relatives, giggling until tears fell, and performing three-act plays in the living room for innocent bystanders. 

I hope your future husband knows how lucky he is. You’re a catch, to say the least. You’re beautiful, intelligent, funny, and have a heart big enough to accommodate countless friends and our entire amazing family. I’ve always admired how you’ve lived life to the fullest, dancing with your head in the clouds while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. 

Having forged the path of marriage several years before you, I only have a few words of wisdom. Marriage, as wonderful and glorious as it looks in the movies, isn’t always a picnic (this message goes along with the gift I got you). Here in a couple of months, or a couple of years if you’re fortunate, his jokes will start to be less funny. You’ll know all of his “back in the day” stories by memory (and correct him when he starts telling them wrong). His underwear left in the middle of the bathroom floor will no longer be mildly annoying, but will send you into hysterics. “Doesn’t he love me? Why can’t he just do this one simple thing?!” Then, if you decide to have babies someday (gorgeous babies from the looks of both of you), you’ll see a whole new side of him, one that will make you fall in love all over again. He’ll tenderly hold your newborn, and look at you with awe and complete respect. And as much as your hearts are forged together even more than you thought possible, a whole new set of challenges will arise. 

You’ll both be exhausted. Babies will do that, you know. Between feeding, changing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and all of other responsibilities, you may feel like you’re growing apart. But eventually, that baby will begin sleeping through (most of) the night. You’ll get a night away, and then a weekend away. You’ll reconnect, and be stronger than ever. Then you just might decide you’re crazy enough about each other to do it all over again. 

When the times are hard, and they will be, hang in there. Lord knows you’ve seen your parents go through hell and back after losing your sister, but they stayed together. That’s no small miracle. Marriage isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it, so worth it. I’ve seen my husband grow and change over the years, and our bond has been made stronger. 

It’s obvious that you and Kurtis are head over heels for each other. The way it should be. Enjoy this day. Savor this moment. Remember the rush. I love you, and I miss you.