Friday, February 02, 2007

Shall We Dance?

Tonight The Child is attending the annual Snow Ball at school. She is very excited because it means she gets to wear the superfantastic dress from Seattle Coffee Girl's wedding. Her shoes and earrings are picked out and she knows how she wants to wear her hair. All I have to do is convince her to scrub all the inkmarks off her arm.

One is escorted to the Snow Ball by a parent, in this case, The Spouse. He has graciously agreed to escort not only his own child but also a classmate, an immigrant from Kenya, who doesn't have a father.

This really isn't The Spouse's sort of thing. I'm quite sure that spending 3 hours at a school dance is absolutely the last thing he wants to do of a Friday evening. Which is not to say that spending time with his child is ananthema to him. It's just that he's more of the adventure movie going/Museum of Flight attending/chess playing/science fair project assisting sort of dad. He likes dancing with her, too. They have a little routine to "Let's Dance" by David Bowie that they've been doing since she could stand. But a school dance, with a lot of standing around watching junior high boys and girls? Not so much.

I am quite sure that The Child has given absolutely no thought to the fact that her father is giving up a Friday evening to attend this function. She's thirteen and she's selfish. But I do know that someday she'll look back and understand how important it was that he took her. And that he attends her volleyball games and takes her to see Spiderman movies.

My dad, Sean Connery, was of another generation. He was the provider and disciplinarian. Dame Judi was the nurturer, the cheer leader. Sean also had careers (high school teacher/coach and then pastor) which necessarily had him more involved in the lives of other people's kids than his own. I don't fault him for his dedication to his students and parishioners. It's just a fact that he wasn't around for us that much. He came to our events when he could and I know he took pride in us, he just wasn't so much for showing it.

I particularly felt it, what with beig the oldest and therefore the "experimental" child. I was 30 before I figured out that he was proud of me. And that probably was a little long to wait. Although at least I figured it out and now he and I talk very comfortably about all manner of things, which is a blessing.

Does that sound like complaining? I don't mean to. I'm thankful I had a dad who loved us and provided for us. He built things for us. He wasn't the world's most patient father but he's mellowed with age. He is kind to our spouses and dotes on his grandkids. Still, I'm thankful that The Child is going to have a different story to tell because her papa is more engaged in her life. She doesn't realize yet what a gift this is, but I do.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Dame Judi opined...

Have I said it before?
I HAVE said it before!
It bears repeating.
The Spouse is one in a trillion.
Sean has many regrets.

The Child will be the Queen of the ball, darling that she is

and yes, she will learn how great a dad she has.

In time.

One thing each generation has in common with the next, a slow-to-appreciate click-in factor.

February 02, 2007 12:40 PM  
Blogger Evangeline opined...

Oh that mommy of yours is a keeper. Sounds like the whole fam damily is a keeper. You are one lucky lady.

February 02, 2007 1:02 PM  
Blogger Kendall opined...

It doesn't sound like complaining at all....it sounds like the typical story for those of us in a "certain age group".

My brother is much the same as the spouse with his kids and sometimes I look at them with envy, wishing I had what they do in a father...but like you I had a provider, a man who gave up a lot so that I could have much and a man who has aged gracefully and has become my friend!

February 02, 2007 1:45 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

Now you've got me all sentimental and stuff..
You know,father's want sons to "Carry on the family name" and such...When you have a daughter,you realize that is where your immortality lies.They will nurture the next generation,and forgive you your faults..PLUS!..as an added bonus,..your sons grow up to be men,but daughters grow up to be your daughters...just sayin'.. :)

February 02, 2007 8:52 PM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Dame Judi, You're the best. Evah.

Eva: Truer words were never spoken. You'd love my mom. And she'd love you.

You're so right, Kendall. We're blessed to have relationships with our dads after all this time. And to understand why they were like they were. And The Child and your neices/nephews are blessed, too.

Sling, when was the last time I told you how much I heart you?

February 02, 2007 11:02 PM  
Blogger greeny opined...

Such a good post. I hope the dance was everything the daughter hoped for and easy on you hubby.

I know of what you speak about making things different for the generation in front of us. And it looks undoubtedly good you will make it so for your daughter.

The part of realizing what our parents were about and why makes us able to forgive many things, yes. It is too bad it happens so late in life but better than not at all.

Sling made me tear up a bit.
Happy Weekend, Lorraine!

February 03, 2007 6:35 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Hey, Greeny! Always nice to see you.

I remember hearing Oprah one time talking about being able to forgive her parents (and she had a lot to forgive) because she had come to realize that they had done the best they could. It's a healing moment for any of us lucky enough to figure it out. And I suppose it has applications in other relationships, as well.

And yeah, that Sling...

February 03, 2007 8:24 AM  

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