My oldest is a freshman in high school. She’s WAY WAY smarter than me. She takes all these honors classes at school and if she isn’t at her dance class she is at her desk studying. Last night we were talking about World War I and I was secretly googling stuff so I could carry a conversation with her. She was asking me questions and I would say “Did you know it was Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie that were assassinated, and that is credited as the start to the first world war?” She would then go into asking me about Europe and all these countries who fought and I would just mumble something and try to change the subject to her favorite candy or a tv show I think she should watch.
Very recently she tried out for a dance team at her school. The first time she tried out in August of this year she made the Junior Varsity team and she was awesome at the games and competitions. I know I’m her Dad and saying this probably hold no water to you the reader but, she LIGHTS up a stage. Her smile is infectious. No offense to anyone else dancing, I’m sure they are great, but when she is out there my eyes never leave her. Anyway, she was on this team, making friendships and connections with all these new kids, and it was very cool for a Dad to see. I thought I would be upset that on a weekend night she would rather be out and about with friends than at home watching Survivor with me, but it has really made my heart happy to see her life changing.
So, she tried out again for the school teams a week or so ago. She had to learn a dance on Monday and Tuesday and then would be trying out on that Wednesday. Wednesday was AWFUL. I could not concentrate at work, time was standing still. I used to get that feeling on Friday night or something when we had plans to do something fun, now I’m getting them on a Wednesday waiting to hear if my oldest girl made a dance team? What the hell…
She was to get out at 5 pm…. So, by 5:15 I was official insane. No text or call…. Each passing second I was thinking that I really had to be a Dad tonight. Really getting my talking points ready about “Not everyone makes it…It builds character to be told you aren’t good enough….I still think you are awesome…I didn’t make all stars in baseball when I was 15….keep working…you are beautiful, smart, talented and your Mom and I love you and are here for you. I was ready with every single cliché I could think of. Corny Dad joke, cliché, hug….Corny dad joke, cliché, hug….repeat until Mom gets home and can actually help the kids get over whatever is bothering them.
5:22 PM my phone rings and I see that it is my oldest calling. Heart almost is beating out of my chest. Before she can even say a word I start telling her a dumb fact about where “break a leg” comes from. She laughs and says she made the Varsity team. I have no clue what happens next but I remember rushing her off the phone and sitting at home with tears in my eyes. I was so happy, not that she made the team, but that I didn’t have to use any of my corny Dad jokes. I got to be just Dad, her biggest fan. She came home I gave her a hug and was able to just be happy with her. I didn’t have to bring her back from the dead, I didn’t have to walk her back from the ledge. I got to just see her be happy.
Earlier this week I got to pick her up from her first practice and when she got in the car she could not get the smile off her face. She said “Dad, I love that I got to be on this team. I love it, just love it.” And I drive us home, the whole time just trying not to cry like a baby.
I brag about my kids all the time. I’ll never apologize for it.
They make me furious sometimes, they aren’t perfect and I certainly am not. But, mixed in with the good days and bad days there are PERFECT moments. There are moments that remind you how lucky you are. Being truly invested in your tribe, being truly happy for someone is so damn rewarding.