I don’t do this very often. If you follow me, you know that I keep my family out of the spotlight, for the most part. Today, my pride and pure joy as a father, prevents me from doing that.
This weekend was a powerful RE-learning experience for me. My faith in hard work and people, in general, has been restored. At least for a few hours. I feel it necessary to tell this story. I also hope that someday, my girls can look back on this long after I am gone and get a 10% understanding of my excitement and pride.
You see, this weekend I was “lucky” enough to sit thru our 695,345th dance recital. OK, maybe not that many, but hell, it feels like it. I don’t want to come off as an ungrateful father and Touch of Class truly puts on the BEST and most professional dance recitals for hundreds of girls on the east coast. I have no doubt. They are also smart enough to schedule the events during a time when I am unable to use an Eagles’ playoff games as an excuse not to show up. (OK, maybe there is no genius there – sorry ladies, but most years the Eagles aren’t in the playoffs)
I really do love watching the girls stumble through these numbers. They are cute. I use the word stumble strategically. There are also really excellent numbers and some unbelievable talent as it pertains to dancers, musicians and choreographers. That said, it could be Baryshnikov out there dancing to Purple Rain with Prince ACTUALLY THERE on guitar and Jesus on drums and 15 minutes is enough. Sorry. It is what it is. If my girls or nieces aren’t in the numbers, I am thinking about the most strategic ways to have blood drawn or what would be better for my beard; coconut oil or beard oil. For the record, it is coconut oil. Plus it shines my head. I digress.
This weekend, my first show was the 1PM show on Saturday. The first one is always the best for me because there truly is talent at these shows. You can see how much work goes into every little detail. My wife and mother-in-law work the shows too, so I hear about how much work goes into just keeping 300 girls occupied and out of trouble for 2 hours, multiple times a day. It truly is remarkable.
At the end of each show, right before the finale, the dance studio owners Tara, Debbie and Miss Debbie, come out to award scholarships to a few deserving girls. This year, four girls were awarded rides out of the hundreds that attend the studios in Broomall and Downingtown.
As a father, you always envision your kid’s name being called as they announce some other name you have never heard. “Political bullshit”, you think. This year the same thought occurred. They called the first worthy recipient. I smirked. Not because she didn’t deserve it. I know she did.
Then, the second name was called………Gena
I stopped breathing. No way!
(I don’t often high-five my wife, but this certainly was a reason to.)
Suffice it to say, we were all surprised, including Gena. All the ladies in attendance from our family actually missed the finale (which Gena was in) because of the crying that ensued. I know what you are thinking and no, I am a man, I did NOT cry. OK, maybe a little.
All of this leads me to the story.
Gena has taught me more over the past years than I could ever hope to teach her.
Her work ethic is EXCEPTIONAL. Talent-wise, there are better dancers. But she busts her ass. Literally. Right now she has 6 classes. She pulls 95’s, plays softball, plus so much more.
Never once, NOT ONCE, has she ever complained about going to school, softball practice, dance class or any of her Dancertainers performances where they travel and dance for no other reason than to make people smile. She is a wonderful friend and big sister. She is an exceptional dinner date. She is a better daughter and granddaughter. The kid is beautiful inside and out and is the definition of a servant leader. She doesn’t fluster. Her smile lights up a room and her love is crippling. It seems that she has enough for anyone and everyone.
Gena, it goes without saying that as your father I am supposed to be teaching you about hard work, dedication, perseverance, passion, humility and love. But for some odd reason, I continue to find myself learning these things from you. Thank you for keeping me humble and proud. Your dad and mom couldn’t be more so.
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
Dance….I hope you dance.