Friday, March 25, 2011

From Six to Nine

I’m not much of a dancer. I’m sure if you know me, you’ve figured that out already. To be honest, I never really got it… I used to go to dances, dance at weddings, and all that – and I don’t think I was ever the guy that people used to stare at because I was bad, I was one of the people that was sort of middle of the road and just blended into the background. The problem is, it’s one of those things that you just can’t seem to avoid, and every once in a while I just find myself in a dance-type scenario. Oddly enough, I find myself in karaoke-type scenarios too, which I find even less appealing – so much so that I have made a mental list of things I would rather do that sing karaoke. Like, for example, inseminate an elephant… or take a rollercoaster ride with a mouthful of fishhooks.

But I digress… For the past three years Sara has been taking Sam to the mother son event at his elementary school, and every year they have some competition or sports related theme. Every year she stresses about it a bit, and every year they end up having a great time… and all the while, in the background, I knew that eventually the time would come for the dreaded Father-Daughter Dance. Now don’t take that the wrong way, I wasn’t dreading going to an event with Lily, I just wished it was something like a Father-Daughter Fish Fry… or a Father-Daughter Movie and Funnel Cake Spectacular. But she was excited, and since I adore her, I was excited. So she got a new dress, I got a vest to match and my dusty tuxedo cleaned. I bought a corsage, got a haircut, cleaned my car, and showed her my best dance moves. She rolled her eyes.

The day finally came, and when we walked into the first room it was like stepping into one of Lily’s most elaborate fantasies. There were servers walking around with trays of snacks, a cotton candy machine, dark and white chocolate fountains, candy tree centerpieces, American Doll and gumball machine raffles, and every girl that she knew preening around like it was a miniature prom. We roamed around in there for a bit, plucking food off of silver trays and getting our picture taken – and when the crowd started to shift onto the dance floor we wandered in to the dance.

Now, from Sara’s description, the mother-son event was a rough and tumble collection of games that the boys ran to in rapid succession. Basically, it sounded like excitement and sweat. The dance floor at Lily’s event was Walt Disney on acid. Disco lights, taffeta, braids, ribbons, red sequins and elementary school gossip all swirling around in one frenetic soup. Lily, unlike me, came to dance. She practices moves at home whenever a song comes on – and depending on her mood, she floats around in graceful, dramatic swooshes - or rhythmically thrashes across the floor using furniture, Sam, or the dogs as props in elaborate gyrations around the house. So we danced. For hours. When she dances at home, it’s usually just to keep herself amused… but having Lily as a dance partner is like trying to land a Marlin. She wiggles around, twists and whirls with wild abandon, and dips at random points in her routine, and expects me to catch her as if I was knew it was coming. Needless to say, I sweat through my tuxedo, as did most of the other dads, who all looked a bit like weary soldiers leaving the battlefield as we all made our way back to the car when the dance was over.

But she held my hand the whole time, and not like we were walking through the mall, she held my hand like she meant it. When there was a break between songs she grabbed onto my waist as hard as she could, and when she said goodnight to me she wrapped her arms around my neck so tight I could see stars. So it turns out I like dancing after all, and you know what? I can’t wait till next year.

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