I had an opportunity this past Friday that I'm glad I didn't pass up. My daughter's teacher sent a general invitation to dads to come to the 6th-grade dance. I immediately accepted. Mind you, that meant going back into the environment where I used to live. I fully expected to see former ward members, etc. And I'm gay. In Bountiful. But, I've found that each time I or both Mark and me have gone to programs at the Quads' elementary school, things get easier.
As it turned out, there weren't very many dads there. In fact, I think I counted three others besides myself. I was easily the oldest. But I'm young at heart. I had a lot of fun.
|Esther trying to teach me moves|
The kids had been learning dances for weeks. The two-step, the foxtrot, the waltz and one other, the name of which I have forgotten. Plus there were two different line dances. I had never danced to the foxtrot. Esther, my daughter, very patiently taught me the steps. I was looking down a lot.
I had forgotten how much fun it is to dance. In the entire time I was previously married, I think my ex-wife and I danced less than a dozen times. It's not that we didn't like to dance; we did. But we were orthodox Mormons, and there just aren't that many opportunities for a married orthodox Mormon to dance, since bars and clubs are strictly off-limits, and there are only so many wedding receptions with dancing.
Mark also likes to dance, but the only times we've had an opportunity to dance have been our wedding (commitment ceremony) and Mark's niece's wedding this past summer. It was so much fun, and it was particularly nice to be able to dance with the person you're in love with.
But back to Esther's dance. I got to have two dances with her, but every other place on her dance card was spoken for. "Sorry I could only give you two dances, Dad," she said. "But there were a lot of boys that wanted to dance with me." Now, that might sound like a very snobby thing to say if we were speaking of someone else. But Esther is a tomboy, not a frilly girl. She gets told all the time that she's beautiful, and it doesn't phase her one bit. She's just not interested.
She was serious about her dances. Most of the other kids seemed to be as well. They were executing the moves they had been taught and that was that. But when it came for the two line dances, I had to smile. That's when they all really got into it. It was exuberant, and I was reminded for a few moments of what it felt like to be in sixth grade. It was a good feeling.
Esther's teacher had hoped more dads could come because there were more girls (considerably more) than boys. She began assigning girls to ask me to dance, which they very politely did. One even came up and asked without being told by her teacher. The girls were all so sweet. Ahh, sixth grade.
It was obvious that I had enjoyed myself, so the teacher asked if I'd be willing to come back for the Valentine's Day dance. "Sure!," I replied. Then I leaned over closer to her and said, "Could my husband come, too, since he loves to dance? Or would that be too 'weird'? "It's fine with me!," she replied. "It's totally fine with me."
I don't think, however, that he and I should try to dance with each other at the Valentine's Day dance. We probably won't. But ....