I am the best dancer my daughter knows. In fact, as far as she is concerned, I am the greatest dancer in the whole world. I know all the dances. I know "fast feet" (that's the one where you move your feet really fast). I know "clap your hands" (that’s the one where you clap your hands). I know the "daddy may have left a large portion of his pinky toe on the ottoman and is currently trying not to cry while simultaneously trying not to teach his word-sponge of a daughter easily pronounceable, single-syllable words that rhyme with 'truck' and 'punt'" dance... (That's her favorite one, by the way. She laughs and laughs and laughs…. Because it's SOOOOOOO FREAKING FUNNY).
It started when I was talking to my grandma the other day. My grandmother is THE matriarch of the family. She is tough as nails, resilient as a rubber band, and able to say more in a sentence than most say in a life time. When I got my first job she wrote me a letter telling me how important honesty was to an employer and how I should never steal, no matter what the temptation - even if I knew I would never get caught. I was a rebellious little shit at the time, and to be honest I probably would have filled my pockets had it not been for that letter. But I knew the grave consequences that awaited me if I did. My grandma would be disappointed in me. That's it. She wouldn't have smacked me upside the head, or called the police. She just would have been sad. She is just that lovable… and remarkably powerful.
She's always got good advice like that, which is what I was expecting when I talked to her the other day. Keep your kids off drugs. Teach them to read before kindergarten. Always know where you are financially and always make a budget. Instead she said "Johnny, (she still calls me Johnny) you be sure to dance with that little girl. You dance with her as much as you can. Kids love dancing with their parents." And so I did. I started dancing with my daughter whenever possible.
And by God, she was right. My kid loves dancing with me. And I love dancing with my kid. I don't care if I look like a bearded hippo trying to relocate his shoulder like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, she laughs and then tries to do it too. The way we communicate while dancing is, in some ways, better than talking. It's more immediate. I put my hands up, and she puts her hand up. I pat my belly. She pats her belly. I clench my foot in my hand, scream, fall to the ground and roll around mumbling obscenities… and she laughs. The little shit laughs. Still, I get back up and dance some more. It's just that much fun.
I'm still going to teach her to read and make a budget. I'm still going to teach her to be kind and loving and to never steal from her future employer. I'm pretty sure my grandma knew I had already planned to teach my kids those things. Never in a million years did I think I'd teach my daughter to dance. And that my friends, is why she told me to do it. My grandma is a very smart woman. I hope my daughter inherited some of her genes. Thanks Grandma.
Dancing like no one is watching (dear God please don't let anyone be watching),
P.S. I can't post about dancing without showing off my nephew's sick dancing skills. I can only hope to someday be as truly awesome as he is.