(written February 25, 2017)
As I sit here in Starbucks for 30 minutes before my meeting, I had an epiphany. One of love. One of peace. One of satisfaction. One of gratefulness. One of joy.
My focus and energy has been so misdirected lately. I will admit, there’s a bit of shame and guilt that sneaks up underneath all the pleasant feelings that I’m having now. Feelings that I’m overwhelmed with.
But it’s a healthy shame and guilt.
It’s the shame and guilt of awareness about my past faulty thinking. It’s to remind me that I need to remember this blog so I can continue to remind myself what is most important in my life.
Father Daughter Dance
Last night I DJ’d a father/daughter dance for an all girl’s school; ages 5-13 with about 150 people in attendance. I got this gig from a friend and was told that normally the girls dance while the dad’s sit and talk.
Not on my watch they don’t!
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived, but as I walked in the door later than I had planned, I was dumbfounded to the extent of set up and decorations this school had done.
The dance was themed with two balloon archways, the whole gym decorated wall to wall, and two moms dressed in character.
For some reason, whenever there’s this kind of organization I get nervous. What if I can’t meet their expectations? Add that it usually takes me 2 hours to comfortably set up and we didn’t have that much time.
I was slightly stressed.
“Dad, we got this,” my thirteen-year old lectures me. “Just chill.” (Which of course is the line I get to use for her today when she’s nervous auditioning for a play)
We get set up in 1 hour 20 minutes, a record for both of us.
The Fathers and Their Princesses Have Arrived
After 6pm the crowd starts to flow in. I’m playing background music. The younger girls want to dance. I know, don’t start too soon. Take it slow. But dinner isn’t for an hour. I bring the tempo up. I get them dancing.
Eventually, it’s dinner time.
I slow it back down. Fun background music. But within minutes the girls are back on the dance floor itching for me to turn up the music and play faster songs. Some of the families still haven’t eaten. I don’t want to go too soon.
I add just a bit more tempo.
“Can you play this?”
“Not yet. In time. We need to let everyone eat first and then the lights will go down and we will crank…the…music…up.”
The idea of a club theme with flashing lights gives me the out I need to stop being bombarded by all the girls.
My daughter hits the lights, Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk” starts and I flip on the sub. A couple seconds later the dancing lights and lasers start flashing.
And, as promised, I CRANK UP the music!
The energy floods the dance floor like a tsunami. You know, girls in this age range are some of the most loudest and engaged dancers a DJ can ever have.
“I can’t hear you!” Which always gets them to sing louder.
After a few upbeat songs, I know it’s time. It’s time to slow down the tempo again. It’s time to get the dads out on the floor.
I put on the first slow song.
The dance floor is packed! All the fathers and daughters sway to the music.
I look at my daughter, who’s videoing one of our friends on his cell phone. “Come on, dance with your Dad. This is a Father/Daughter dance you know.”
“Can’t. Busy right now Dad.” She winks at me and gives me her mischievous, dare you to make me, smile.
I hit the stop button on the phone’s video. “Now you can.”
And We Dance
My daughter lets go of all inhibitions and fears, takes my hand and we dance on the stage. We dance above and in front of everyone. But we don’t just dance, we waltz.
My daughter is teaching me how to waltz.
Then, I see her give me the look. It’s the “come on you almost got it, just like this” look. It’s the nod of her head when I get it right.
I’ve seen that look in her eyes before.
But not from the dance floor with her in my arms. I was sitting in an audience looking down on her as she performed a summer play.
I’m dancing with Belle.
My daughter was Belle in Beauty and the Beast almost two years ago. In fact, her audition song today is “Home” from that play. It’s the look she gave the Beast on stage when she taught him to dance. It was the same nod she gave the Beast when he started getting it right.
I have been misdirected in my thinking.
I do have the love of a woman that will transform me into a prince.
I have been so focused on saving my marriage and getting the love and approval from my ex, that I missed the most important piece. That I have two young women who love me unconditionally with all my flaws. They see the Prince underneath the Beast.
I already have the love of Belle.
I need to be present for my girls.
I need to be their dad.
So much this week in counseling has come up about how my girls have benefited from the work I’ve done in recovery. I’ve been short-sighted only thinking about what I believe I need, my marriage.
I have not turned my back on them. I use so many of the tools I have learned. I can be more of a father for them than I ever could have when I was so caught up with my own personal demons.
In addition, I can teach them too. I can model how to be healthy, how to be grateful with life, and how to acknowledge and handle emotions.
I am no longer the Beast I believed I was. I am their Prince.
Tale as Old as Time
Beauty and the Beast