This was going to be about something else. Until the girls started dancing.
Why was this performance so special? Remember, I’ve been watching them jump and twirl since they came up to my knee.
I’ve sat through concerts where fathers should have been receiving the medals.
We’ve done shopping centre recitals. Strutting their stuff in front of the fruit shop, as bananas are weighed.
They’ve always been good. Natural dancers. Both practice hard, at rehearsals and at home.
This particular show was for school, on a Sunday afternoon. I went alone, and managed to snare a seat close to the stage.
Their first dance was a lively number. They nailed it. The kids around them were great too. Such a confident, talented bunch.
But it was the second dance, a more sedate affair, that blew me away. I have no idea why. I’d seen them perform it before. In the same flowing red dresses.
For some reason, this was different. They LOOKED different. Older, both of them. With perfect hair and make up.
It was like I was watching in slow motion. I saw things, in those precious few minutes, that I hadn’t seen in months.
Teenager Too was glowing. I had to look twice, to make sure this tall, graceful young woman, was the daughter who used to fall asleep at the dinner table.
She stood out, among girls much older. Every move was perfect. But it was beauty shining from within, that lit up the stage. Her smile, lit up my heart.
The Teenager is now a leader in the group. The others follow her. When did she get so .. mature?
She works so hard, to be so good. Every spare hour, she’s trying to get better. I watched her glide across the floor, and saw the passion in her eyes. Ridiculously long limbs, making complex moves look easy. Every teenage boy in the room was watching too.
I thought back, to when this gorgeous young woman could hardly get out of bed. Not that many years back. A stomach problem that had us visiting every specialist in town.
She couldn’t eat. Constantly felt sick. Reflux you would normally see at the end of the bar.
The little girl who would listen to stories in bed until I fell asleep, could hardly keep her eyes open. She had no energy. And she was scared.
I feared the worst. That’s what Dads do. So one night, running out of options, I prayed.
It was a shout out to anyone who was listening up there, to swap the pain. Whatever this bad thing was, I wanted it. Or anything else, to square the ledger. That’s what Dads do.
To this day, I don’t know what that sickness was. One doctor said he thought it could pass, with time. And so it did. With or without my help. Slowly, her old spark returned.
So here she was, with the sister she squabbles with on the hour, but loves like no other, dancing like there was no tomorrow.
Near the end of the performance, they linked up, and for a split second, they were as one on the stage.
It was then, sitting alone in the dark, that I shed a quiet tear. So very proud, and so incredibly lucky.
I wish every one of you had been able to come and share those few minutes with me. Even my old racing mates, who last waltzed to the Glenn Miller Band.
That one dance, made me as happy as a father could be. Sometimes, you can’t beat the simple things.