Letters from the Nest for week of June 14, 2012

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Christi Elkins

She Dances with her Daddy

The gentlemen all lined up against the wall that afternoon, in their pressed khaki pants and clammy palms.
Their nervous laughter and idle chatter resonated backstage, as they waited to dance with their daughters; holding roses, wearing smiles. Suddenly, a flurry and flood of color, sparkle, and excitement filled the hallway as each dancer scurried to find that one man who is closest to their heart with which to share a song on stage at the recital. The rustling of dramatic and demure costumes could be heard as the line slowly filtered onstage and the dancing began. We looked on, quietly, as she danced with her daddy. It is not just at recital that she dances with her daddy. She dances with him every afternoon when he arrives home. Those bare feet, dusty with dirt from the park, rush as quickly as they can to the front door to greet him. She dances with him in the kitchen, to favorite songs played loudly and quickly, as she jumps and squeals in excitement.
She dances with him as she kisses him goodnight, twirling and jumping in an old worn nightgown. She dances back again for “just one more kiss.” She also dances with her daddy when she has wronged him. She shifts and fidgets nervously, avoiding his eyes, asking forgiveness. When her mommy dances with her daddy, she ever so politely asks to cut in. This is her dance, after all.
Because one day that dance with her daddy will turn into a slow walk down a white aisle.
Those that watched her grow up, dancing, will see her join hands with a new dance partner at an altar. The shiny tap shoes will become heels of satin and a veil of tulle will replace the polka dot headband. At that moment, the music stops. There are two men that are close to her heart. And both will ask her to dance. Then she will remember that day in the hallway, wearing ballet shoes and a brightly colored costume, holding her daddy’s hand, waiting to dance with him for the first time.
She will treasure that he has been there for every dance, jump, leap, and fall. And he will wish he was back on that kitchen floor, with her little feet on his tired work boots, dancing during the leaps of delight and the moments of darkness.
For little girls grow up and are whisked away by their prince charming, but they never forget how to dance with their daddies.