My wife works at a fairly large state university and last night they held their Relay for Life event. For years the school and the community held their event jointly, but recently, as is the trend, the school started hosing their own event. I enjoyed the fact that the school and community held their events together as it brought together people who might otherwise not have interacted and hope at some point in the future it can return to the way it was.
But this isn't about that.
This is about the event last night and seeing someone truly enjoying themselves without caring one bit what other people thought.
Some background. My son is extremely introverted. Like "He was scared of my brother and sister-in-law for more than two years because he rarely saw them and despite reassurances they were family he wouldn't go near them" level introverted. He takes a while to warm up to new people and places and while he's making that adjustment quicker and quicker, he's still clings to my side.
Last night at Relay for Life, he wanted me to walk with him 30 feet to throw a piece of trash away because he wasn't comfortable going by himself. But after a while of kicking a beach ball like a soccer ball and then throwing a frisbee with some of the students who work for my wife, he eventually warmed up to the situation.
Then, over the PA system, Pharrell's "Happy" started playing. At first he struggled to hear it over all the power generators there. I asked if he wanted to walk closer to the stage so he could hear it better. We slowly made our way up there and then got off to the side of the track.
And then something interesting happened.
He started dancing. Dancing like no one was watching (which was far from the case because college girls seem to love seeing young kids at events). Having the time of his life. Jumping up and down, punching the air, doing the kinds of moves you would expect from a 5-year old kid with rhythmically-challenged parents. But he didn't care at all. The song ends and another comes on that he knows, so he keeps dancing. And dancing. Another song comes on that he doesn't know. He looks at me and then keeps dancing.
I'm not sure how long he would have kept going but soon the host of the event starts talking, thus temporarily stopping the music.
It was fun to see someone experiencing such unbridled joy just dancing to the music. It was even better to see my introverted son being that person.