On the father-daughter dance

It’s easy to neglect the things that really matter the most.

I had originally written a little about this in my post about Namine’s recital, but I realized it didn’t belong. This is about a father’s attitude, not a daughter’s experience.

I absolutely loved — loved, loved, loved — being a part of the father-daughter dance in Namine’s recital. I quickly realized that mine was not the only attitude, however.

I was surprised to discover that not all the fathers involved felt the way I did. Some seemed to view it as tedium; something that they had to do, for one reason or another. I myself loved every bit of it — even the practices — but the most animated response I ever saw was a dad saying, “That wasn’t too bad.”

Coming out of the finale after Sunday’s recital, I, like many other dads, had taken off my golden crown and cape. I folded the cape and put it into my pocket — I was wearing cargo shorts, so plenty of room there — and held onto the crown. Another dad passed me in the hallway, and hardly looking at all, tossed his costume pieces in a garbage can.

I was aghast. Not that I ever plan to use the costume again (although Namine already has plans for the golden cape), but I would never have thrown it away. I suppose it’s just my sentimentality, but to me objects hold memories. And not only that, this was my first father-daughter dance with Namine. There will be more, of that I’m sure, but this first will always be special to me.

I think the last reason I was so dumbfounded, when seeing the nonchalant attitude some of these fathers took with regard to the dance, was because of the life we’ve had to get to this point.

Namine’s infancy was difficult. That’s not accurate. Much of her infancy was terrifying. She almost died. She needed surgery after surgery after surgery. Doctors warned caution, because she might not live very long — and they have good reason to. The complications that can arise after even one surgery — and Namine had three on her heart alone.

I want to cherish every moment with Namine because, even though she’s healthy and active, I don’t know what the future might bring. I’m not afraid for her; I just want her to know that I love her. I don’t want to just go through the motions, just saying the words. I want to banish all doubt from her mind, and prove to her in everything I do that I love her. Even if it means wearing a silly crown and cape for her — or maybe especially if it means wearing a cape for her — I will do it gladly because I love my daughter, my Namine.

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