Friday held our school’s annual Father-Daughter Dance. I am guessing I attended ten of them with different combinations of daughters. There were a few years when all four were in school that I had to call in reinforcements – my brother-in-law and nephews. A Man Can Only Dance with so Many Women (Autobiography title – I call it!).
Most of the dads at our school participate, and I’m proud of that. There are a few who only use the dance floor as a path to the buffet, but they are the exception. Men who may refuse to dance with their wives break out every move they can muster at the twinkle-eyed request of their little girls. If you judged the event on performance, it isn’t pretty. If you judge it by love, it is beautiful.
We’ve all heard the song I Hope You Dance. Its lyrics contain such a good message. I don’t claim to have done everything right or been wonder-dad, but I danced.
I’m glad I danced.
Friday evening, my lovely wife opened Facebook and saw friends posting pictures of dads and daughters headed to the dance. She quickly closed it. She didn’t want to see it. I get that. After all, I don’t have a date in what should have been Kylie’s last dance. That stings. But somehow, I didn’t mind seeing the pics scroll by. In fact, I kind of enjoyed them. I think I didn’t mind because I danced.
I’m glad I never let my inability dictate my participation.
I’m glad I never sat out because I might be embarrassed of what others thought.
I’m glad I danced.
Can I dance, you ask? The answer is a resounding no. In my younger days, I was never asked to return to the floor by sane, sober women, and I will likely never be part of a hokey flash mob at one of my girl’s weddings. (There are two reasons for that. First, my girls won’t want that to be what the attendees remember of their wedding. Secondly, we probably won’t be able to afford the space required to ensure the safety of the guests. I think the Fire Marshall requires about three square miles of covered space per Mark Myers Turn.)
Still, I’m glad I danced.
I’m glad I let my girls put bows in my hair and makeup on my face. I am also glad Facebook, Instagram, and digital photography weren’t prolific a decade ago.
Of course I wish I had been able to dance Friday with Kylie, who should be eleven months out of treatment and sporting new hair. Last year, she couldn’t stay very long because she was aching all over. On the ride home we talked about how much fun this year would be. We thought her pain was the accumulated side effects of radiation. In retrospect, we now know that it was the cancer creeping throughout her body. Still we danced. For however long we could, we danced.
Maybe that is why I wasn’t affected by seeing the other dads taking their girls to the dance – because I danced… because I have no regrets.
To young or future fathers of girls: DANCE. Dance like every turn might be the last, because it actually might be. I don’t say that to be morose, I say it because it is true. None of us are promised another tomorrow and the quicker we realize that, the better off our today will be. Steal joy from every moment, live with no regrets.
* * * * *
While Kylie was in treatment she would ask me to sing and dance for her. She taped several of my performances. By watch count, this must have been her favorite.
I share this tender moment between father and daughter with no regrets. I’m glad I danced.
17 thoughts on “I’m Glad I Danced”
how wonderful. and even with all of the extraordinary challenges, i’m glad you danced. and your daughters all, were glad you danced.
Well, they were until a certain age. I tested this theory before I wrote this and asked the college aged one if I was ever too embarrassed to do anything with them. She said she never remembered me shying away from anything, but she remembers her being embarrassed of me. I think that’s the way its supposed to be.
Wiping away a tear. I love the picture of her with the front tooth missing. Hugs to you!
I love that one too. But I hope it wasn’t the actual dancing video that made you cry. LOL. Thanks for the hugs.
It was seeing that sweet little baby face that got me in the feels!
I am a mother who is afraid of dancing, though I will do it (poorly) at Oktoberfests and in crowded halls, and only with my little girl. No regrets, as you say. I find I need to hear that as a reminder regularly, and it was overdue. Wonderful post and photos, thank you for sharing.
Thank you, and yes, it certainly pertains to moms too. Having lost her, I’m just so thankful I can look back and not regret what we didn’t do.
Mark, what great words to share. Every moment is precious and every memory of them so important for our hearts. Thanks for reminding us that they are fleeting and to capture the joy while we can. Jeff
Thanks Jeff. I know you’ve had a tough year too. I pray things are looking up!
So glad you have those memories and took the time. One of my biggest regrets with Jonathan was getting too busy with life and not taking those moments.
I guess we can all say that about time. But I’m sure you spent every minute you could with him and maximized the time together. Moms are good at that.
Mark, Sometimes, there are no words, when what you have just read is so beautiful and really says everything that can truly be said! ” YOU DANCED! “. Your posts make me think, cry, and resolve to never stop trying to make a difference for kids & their families in treatment for Cancer. Thanks for being you! Margy
Thank you again, Margy. We will keep dancing for the kids!
We had twins in 1992, our son Brandon died the same day, Our Daughter Brittany died 24 days latter, the following year we had identical boys Jordan & Jeffrey. From a surgical procedure the sack was ruptured & they too Died. Well in 1994 we finally brought home a beautiful Healthy baby boy. I have gone to his karate of course his Dad to has never missed anything. I taught him to ride a bike. Got him into guitar to see if he would enjoy it. He did & plays beautifully. I had a very lets just say not so easy childhood. Dad left when I was two. Music got me through everything in life. I mean everything. When I would be behind closed doors & there was a school daughter dance I would dance & dreamed of a day I would meet my father, maybe dance at my wedding. Well didn’t happen. I only had 24 days with my daughter. She would have had the most amazing Dad” like you I have dreamed of him & her at different Birthdays & occasions & ages. How beautiful it would have been to see my little girl dance with her daddy. All of my children as you know. I know each one is different has there own personality & person. I know my son is not them & they were not him. But my son is now 21. I just feel I know those memories of having a Son. But feel I of course did, feel like I missed so much with my little girl. Now I get by believing on both sides life & death. I will see them someday I hope. But know I will not want to say goodbye to my son. But then I believe life goes by so quick that we will all be together in the end forever. However I do sit & fantasize what my husband & our daughter Brittany will never have & I have thought several times they never danced. How I would have loved to see the love of my life the Father of my beautiful children. Dance with her daddy. I’m going to stop now & tell you as that little girl that never got to ever dance with my father.
I am in awe you danced.
I will say now as the Mother of a beautiful little girl & a wonderful once in a lifetime kind of man. Who never got the chance.
I am in tears with a heavy heart I am in Awe you danced.
As I sId music is a Hugh part of my life. I love Lee ann womack’s song
I Hope You Dance.
I am very happy & very moved by your story. More than you can know. I am not only moved to have read your story. God Bless your beautiful courageous little girl.
Thank God you Danced. You don’t leave this world with your marek all possesions, but you do leave this world , so I have been told. With your memories.
She will always remember too, that you Danced.
Paula Ann Stephens.
Thank you, Paula Ann. I am moved by your story and am sorry for all you have lost. We can only do what we can with what we’ve been given for however lo we get to keep it. We just keep on dancing. Bless you, my friend.
You have been liking my posts for a while and so I wandered over here and I am so touched by your writing. But even more by what an amazing story. I am glad you danced too! Begin feeling my prayers! I am going to be sending them!
Thank you Very much, Diane. We certainly appreciate your prayers as we head into February which marks one year since her death.