Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Daddy/Papa and Daughter Dance: Beyonce' remix edition

When we walked in to the Jackson Parks and Rec’s Annual Daddy/Daughter Dance this weekend, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was thumping from the speakers on the dance floor. I had to giggle as I peered into the darkened convention center and saw a teeming mass of cuteness bobbing up and down to this tiresome song. Oh sure, it was fun the first time you heard it and the first 4,000 tribute dance videos were fun too. But to see this much unbridled glee was energizing. I questioned the appropriateness of this song for a dance aimed at 3 to 16 year olds, but I quickly reminded myself to NOT be one of those Dads. We got in line and got our picture taken, after all, we did look pretty spiffy (see picture... and, can you spot Eli?) After that, we headed into the noise and began looking for Anna’s BFF Chloe (who, it turns out, didn’t get a ticket in time). We found a friend from school and all was good. We danced, we ran around, we lost Anna for a brief and terrifying moment, and we wished we would have brought earplugs. Honestly Miley Cyruss sucks at any level, but when cranked up to 11, the suck begins to hurt.

These past few weeks have been rough at home, as the crud that is going around has been lingering at our house longer than I expected. One gets better, another gets sick. We’re tired, we’re sick, we’re not feeling all the best and that can make things tense and crazy. However, this night, with Eli at home with the grandparents, we were able to go out and have a good time together. As we moved around the hall dancing and bobbing along to the music, I saw many different Daddies and Daughters, some were older, and some were younger. Some were all spiffed up; others apparently just rolled out of bed and came as they were. I saw a young girl of about 15 in a red carpet worthy gown, her hair done up in a perfect glamour girl “do” topped with a lovely tiara. Her older father followed behind this young diva with a smile that said “I am so proud of my daughter right now I could burst!” Never mind the fact that the girl had Down syndrome, she was rockin’ the look and was takin’ names with her fabulousness. I had to turn away as I saw a very young Dad holding his daughter as they danced. The chemotherapy was obviously taking its toll on this girl’s body, as she was a little, bald, bag of bones in her lovely dress and father’s arms. She looked so happy and glad to be there, it made a lump rise up in my throat as I thought about what must be going through her Dad’s mind. I said a quick prayer of thanks that my girl was healthy and well and chided myself for all the times I yelled at her. There was also a Dad with the back of his shaved head tattooed with a flaming skull. From the front, he and his 13 year old or so daughter looked like any other Daddy/Daughter combo in the room. They kind of hung back against the wall, and danced to that Miley, “Party in the USA” song without abandon when it came on for the 5th time that night. Love is unconditional, and love is something we often forget to express to those around us.

As we drove to the restaurant downtown for after dance drinks and to show off our outfits, Anna burst out an “I LOVE YOU GUYS!” from the backseat of the car. I had to steady my hands on the wheel as I stole a look at my little girl all decked out in her pink Sunday-go-to-church coat, a very similar shade to the pink in the dragon suit that vexed us the other night. Parenting isn’t easy, but loving your kids is… take advantage of it any time you can.