Fathers Day Dance recital weekend in my house. If you know me or have read any of my stories you know I’m the Dad to a dancing family. Both my daughters are dancers, and my wife is a teacher at their studio, and now my little God daughter is a dancer there too. I don’t have an ounce of rhythm in my body, but I should have a tattoo of a pair of pointe shoes on my arm I know so many dancing terms at this point. I’ll dance poorly at weddings and any chance I get to embarrass my kids though.
The wife and I had kids long before any of our friends so when they talk now about their 3 year old doing this or that we can laugh with each other about it. We know the answers to the test, but part of the fun of having already done it is getting to see it thru their eyes. Remembering what life was like with a 5 and 3 year old. The good and the very very bad….
Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine. He has a little girl, who is 3 and who had recently starting dancing class. He was mentioning how cool it was watching her and how it was a world he knew nothing about, but it made her smile so he was cool with it. I talked about how my oldest was on a high school dance team now and just how I couldn’t believe I could say “high school daughter”. I talked about how I thought having girls just meant Mom would be their best friend and I would be their Dad. That I wouldn’t be able to connect with them once I realized they didn’t love baseball and shooting pretend guns at each other. But, once I dove into their worlds my life got infinitely better. I told him to do the same, to love whatever they love and this parenting thing would be so much more rewarding. It was a really great conversation and then we got drunk and golfed all afternoon. We told dirty jokes and acted like the dumb kids we have always been.
A couple weeks ago I got a text from this friend and he mentioned how he just watched his daughters dance recital and how he might have had to hold back a few tears watching her. It was one of my favorite texts I have ever gotten. I was the friend who would understand exactly what he was talking about. I loved that I was thought of when sharing a dancing story.
Every year my girls dance recitals are on Father’s Day. I used to hate it, I used to think it was super unfair. I wanted to do NOTHING on Father’s Day. Until one day my wife said “You can stay home and not go”. She said in that tone, we all know it, where those were the words she said, but she definitely meant something more like “You can stay home and your kids will hate you forever and you will end up being that Dad you never wanted to be. The one they HAVE to visit once a year when you are old, but you know they will not even want to do that.” Her point was made. I haven’t missed a recital is the ten years my daughters have done them.
My kids have gotten so much out of dancing, but so have I. They are confident kids on that stage, which is mind boggling to me. A stage is very scary to me. I watch them in awe. They are powerful, elegant, vulnerable, and inspiring. I watch the really little kids fall in love on that stage the first time they are there. I watch the Dads start to head backstage to get ready for their dance they get to do with their daughter/son. And I remember being so nervous to do those dances with my girls.
So, I don’t have a kid to toss a baseball with, I don’t have a boy to teach how to do the Stone Cold Steve Austin Stunner. I got so so much more than that. My wife is raising two incredible humans, she makes it so much easier for me to just be Dad. I just get to watch them grow. They don’t ask me for much. Just to be there when they need me. Sometimes, being a Dad is the easiest job on earth.
This weekend when my kids hit that stage and look into the audience they don’t have to search for me. They KNOW I’m there. That’s the best Father’s day gift I could ever get.