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.
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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.