I’m a cynical guy. Have been most of my life; it’s a cross you bear when life gets you down, and you let it keep you down. So when I heard about our local Daddy/Daughter dance, my cynical side took over for a minute and in my head said, “Heck no, I would never be caught dead there.” But I decided it might be a good bonding experience for my girls and me.
To crack out of my cynical shell a bit, I decided to amp it up and buy a card for each girl to “officially” ask them to the dance. Each girl read her card and started to get excited about going. I could tell this was going to be something we would all remember.
And we will.
Outfits were picked out, and after a small meltdown because of lack of sleep, the three of us had dinner and talked about things we’ve never talked about before. Our youngest wants to be a teacher, and our oldest wants to be a world-famous dancer before she owns her own dance studio.
After dinner, it was time for the big event — the dance. I’m what you call a wedding dancer, good for a couple of slow dances and one theme dance (chicken, hokey pokey, etc.), but that’s the extent of my experience.
For some reason I was nervous, not in an “Oh, I hope they have a good time” nervous, but more of an “I hope I don’t make a fool out of myself … or them” nervous. When we walked in, all of that nervousness went away when I saw all the other dads with a “now what” look on their face. I knew I was among friends.
We checked in; each girl was presented with a corsage, and after a glass of punch, we hit the dance floor. Couldn’t tell you any of the songs we danced to, but I can tell you I haven’t seen my girls smile that much in a long time.
Looking around the room at one point in the evening, all I could see were dads excited to be with their daughters, daughters excited (and some mortified) to be with their dancing dads. It was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
It also made me think of the future and how one day we’ll be on the dance floor again, years from now, dancing at their weddings. It’s weird how you get excited for that day, but don’t want this day to end because you want them to be your little girls forever.
We can’t stop time, but we can take little pieces of it and keep it in our heart for safekeeping. Too much of life is built around getting the biggest house or the fanciest car, but if you ask me, doing the chicken dance with my daughters is more of what life’s about and the life I want to live.
Take a minute, let the music take over, and remember there is nothing hokey or pokey about the hokey pokey if you’re doing it with the ones you love.
– Jim Pesta is a Parenting Program participant and father of two girls.