When my son got married last month, he and his wife followed some long-time traditions. Her father walked her down the aisle. Our son did not see the wedding dress, and obviously her in the dress, until she walked down the aisle. They did not see each other the night before the wedding.
And they had a traditional “Father and Bride” dance as well as a “Mother and Groom” dance.
This created quite a bit of anxiety for me.
I don’t dance.
Well, let me clarify. I wish I could dance. I would love to be able to dance. But Merle doesn’t dance. And we don’t go to places where there is dancing.
When we were married, friends taught us a few dances. We had the reception at a public ballroom, where a polka band was playing. So our friends taught us to polka.
Next month is our 35th wedding anniversary.
And we have not danced a polka since then. The few times that I have danced, it was with other guys, and my problem is that I tend to lead. The guys give up after a few minutes.
Now I have a knee replacement that somewhat limits jumping, twisting, and bouncing. I wasn’t sure I could dance even if I tried. Nothing fancy, anyway.
Last year when our daughter was married, she did not include the traditional dances of the Bride and Groom, because her husband does not dance. Merle and I watched the “kids” dance-very entertaining, but we did not dance.
When our other son was married, their infant daughter was there. I watched the baby while they had a chance to dance. It seemed like a fair trade.
But our oldest son loves to dance, and he is a great dancer. He learned after being in many, many theater productions. His wife enjoys dancing as well.
My son informed me a few weeks before the wedding that he and I would be dancing, alone, in front of their guests for the traditional mother and son dance. I panicked. He assured me that all I would have to do is slow dance back and forth with him for several minutes.
We practiced a couple of days before the wedding, while his Bride practiced her dance with her dad as well as with my son.
Both the Bride’s dad and my son danced with her like pros. They bounced, they twirled, they dipped. They were great.
Then my son danced with me. Back and forth, back and forth. In rhythm, at least!
Then my son told me the song he had chosen for our dance. I had never heard of it. “I Hope you Dance” by LeeAnn Womack. I listened to it on you tube several times just to get the sense of it. I loved the sentiment. But I was still panicking about dancing myself.
At the wedding dance, my son and I danced. He stuck to the back-and-forth slow dance for me.
People were watching. There were photos taken. I tried to focus on the dancing.
After a few minutes, the DJ announced that all mothers and sons should come out to dance together.
People started to filter out onto the dance floor. My nearly 50 year-old brother danced with my 84 year-old mother. The Bride’s mother danced with her son. The Bride’s father danced with his 90+ year-old mother. The Bride’s sister, the matron of honor, danced with her son, the ring bearer. My youngest son joined us, and I danced with both of my sons-at the same time!
As I looked around, I realized—-it was not about me.
And I danced.