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Short Stories for Children of all Ages: My mama had a dancing heartMy mama had a dancing heart



My mama had a dancing heart 
and she shared that heart with me.



With a grin and a giggle,

a hug and a whistle, we'd slap our knees

and Mama would say:

"Bless the world

it feels like

a tip-tapping



kind of day.

Let's celebrate!"

And so we did.


When a warm spring rain

would come pinging on the windowpane,

we'd kick off our shoes

and out into the rain we'd go.


We'd dance

a frog-hopping



hello spring ballet.


High-stepping and splashing,

the rain running down our faces

I'd slip-swish behind Mama

through the newly green grass.


And afterward

we'd read rain poems

and drink sassafras tea

with lemon curls floating.




And in summer

when the waves would come

plash-splashing on the shore,

out we'd go into the red-orange morning

with kites and balloons

tied to our wrists.



We'd do a seabird-flapping


hello summer ballet,

with me following Mama,

the sand stuck between the toes

of our up-and-down squish-squashing feet.



And afterward

we'd seashell-pile the windowsill

and drink lemonade cold.


And when the cool autumn winds

would come puff-puffing

through the clouds, and the hold-on-tight leaves

would finally let go and float-flutter

to the ground,

out we'd go into the eye-blinking blue air,

with Mama leading in a leaf-kicking



hello autumn ballet.



And afterward

we'd wax paper-press leaves

red and gold

and drink hot tea spiced.



And when the winter snows

came softly down

shawling the earth,

out we'd go

and do a body-flat



hello winter ballet.


And then we'd stand up,

Mama first,

and dance in slow motion,

like hand-mittened


funny old snowmen.



And afterward

we'd cut snowflakes

paper-white delicate

and sip cocoa

with marshmallows floating.


And now

after satin-ribboning my feet

and listening to the violins


around me,

onto the stage I go




letting the

spring rain

summer waves

autumn leaves

winter snow

carry me along until

the music slows

and I feather-float

down ... down

to the ground.


And afterward

I imagine that

I hear my mama saying:

"Bless the world

it feels like

a tip-tapping



kind of day.

Let's celebrate!"





My mama had a dancing heart 
and she shared that heart with me.


Libba Moore Gray

My mama had a dancing heart

 New York, Orchards books, 1995

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