It’s such a natural part of a little girl’s life to relish her daddy’s attention. Whether swinging higher and higher in the back yard or singing into a homemade microphone in the living room talent show, it’s always preceded with a confident, “Daddy, Watch Me!” The joy of accomplishment is so much richer when Daddy approves.
There was a time years back when I felt like I had not met Dad’s approval. Early in my married life, we had the occasion to dance together and it was a complete disaster. Lots of steps going this way and that, I had no clue how to match his steps. It wasn’t until many years later, after learning to dance, that I figured it out. That busy little pattern Dad had going was a triple-step swing. Such a simple dance and one that we do so frequently now.
Once I developed into a ballroom dancer, I looked for the opportunity to dance with Dad again. Sadly, his health had begun to weaken by then and I saw that it was a lost hope. Second best, I thought, was the hope that we might all attend a show or wedding where Dad could see me dance with Tom. Though he waged war against mortality for years, there was never the strength to venture outside his home.
With Dad’s passing a few weeks back, I find myself struggling with the fact that the dance will never be. It is somewhat embarrassing to admit that I still want to please my dad, even at this age. I want him to see what I have learned. I want him to know that I could now match that rapid-fire triple step of his. I want him to know that when I am out there on the dance floor enjoying what I have learned, there is still a little girl’s voice in me saying, “Daddy, Watch Me!”