My last “Official Daddy Daughter Dance”

I danced with my daughter on Saturday evening.

Sure, we had a preview of “The Smell Of The Kill” at the Williamston Theatre, and I’m at most previews. But we’ve also got a good production staff, and an Executive Director who is perfectly capable of stepping in for the Artistic Director in important situations.

And this was an important situation. So I played hooky.

Saturday was the Daddy Daughter Dance at Maggie’s school.

Maggie got all dressed up, she looked beautiful! Jeanne helped her with her dress, and her hair. It was a big date, so I wore my suit – vest and all!

We had a wonderful time, there was a corsage, and cookies and punch, and lots of great music and dancing and…

As we were walking into the dance, holding hands and talking and laughing, I kept coming back to one thought:

This is our last official “Daddy Daughter Dance”.

Oh sure, we’ll dance together. We all dance at home sometimes, we’ll dance at parties… but after this there are no more school sponsored “Dad/Daughter” events.

She’ll be too grown up for all of that.

Soon her dances will be with young men that I’ll be reminding to “drive safe” and “be back in time”, and I’ll be resisting the urge to say “I know where you live, pal.” But I’ll be thinking it.

It was, incredibly, 4 years ago that I wrote this journal entry about another Daddy Daughter Dance. Going back and re-reading it, it’s amazing how much things change while staying the same. You hear that all the time, but every now and then something happens and life just smacks you in the head with a two-by-four and says “SEE! I wasn’t kidding about that whole it goes fast so pay attention thing!”

So fast.

This little girl. When she was just a tiny baby, I could cradle her in the crook of my arm, and we discovered that whenever she’d cry in the middle of the night if I put on John Mellencamp, and dance her slowly around the room, she’d stop crying and fall right asleep. Worked every time. It’s funny, I can’t remember how we discovered that, but I remember it always working.

Only about two years ago, if she was having trouble sleeping, she’d ask “Dad, sing Ivy Twine for me?” That’s not the name of it, but it’s a hymn that I used to sing to the kids, or a portion of a hymn, and I’d pick her up and dance slowly around her room with her and sing until she fell asleep on my shoulder… Tell me why the stars do shine, tell me why the ivy twines, tell me why the sky is so blue, and I will tell you just why I love you…

She’ll be 12 in a couple of weeks, she’s becoming a young woman with her own soundtrack – Hannah Montana and Taylor Swift and dancing around the house and discovering who she wants to be, and that’s a wonderful thing. She’s learning to play the guitar, and can already play a number of cool hip songs that all her friends know the words to, full of the spirit of the world she’s about to enter – lots of teenage angst and personal explorations and that transition that I just wish I could slow down… that transition into a big huge world of independence……and away from the little world where Dad can make everything okay with a dance.

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