I may be a little overzealous, or maybe overzealous isn’t the correct word to use, maybe I’m just a little abnormal.
I’ll ask you. Is it odd that I have already picked out the song I want to use for the father/daughter dance at my daughter’s upcoming wedding?
You see she turns five this week. Yes, five, as in not-quite-old-enough-to-be-in-Kindergarten-yet five. And the upcoming wedding is just a presumption. We’re hopefully at least 20 years out, and in all honesty, who knows what the future holds for the both of us. I’ve made plans for my life in the past, only to have them quickly halted with things like births of a child, or even more life-altering, my wife’s battle (and victory) with cancer.
Plus, will she actually choose the song I’ve chosen for us? I mean, as she gets older she may rebel and all of a sudden we’re dancing to her generation’s “White Wedding.”
Ahh, that’s too far ahead to be thinking, and worrying about. And for the sake of this column, and her upcoming birthday, let me jump into explaining why Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella” is the topic of this edition of Songs in the Key of Life.
It was also mid-2008, and days before the concert, when my wife and I found out that our second child was going to be a girl. For the first time in 31 years there would be a baby girl born from my side of the family.
“Oh, Daddy’s little girl,” people would tell me after we shared the news. Uh, sure. I was scared. I was never around girls when I was young. I didn’t start dating until my senior year of high school, and even after that I didn’t know what I was doing. I still don’t know what I’m doing.
Where do they pee from? What will happen when she gets her … you know? What if she’s not cute, I mean I’ll love her anyway, but … boys can be evil!
Thankfully Chapman’s performance of “Cinderella” came at the perfect time.
“Cinderella” takes fathers (or, in my case, fathers-to-be) on an emotional journey.
The little girl tugs at her all-too-busy-to-notice dad, asking him to dance with her because, after all, there’s a ball at the castle and she needs to be prepared for the prince!
The little girl becomes a high school teenager who needs approval from Dad about her prom dress, and then advice for the actual dance, so she doesn’t stumble on the dance floor.
And finally, the real heartstring-puller, the teenager becomes an adult, glowing as she shows off her engagement ring and then asks her dad for another lesson for the dance floor, as her wedding is just six months away.
The reality of the song hits hardest in the chorus:
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
Idon’t want to miss even one song
‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she’ll be gone
And making matters worse was the video playing on three screens behind Chapman. A silhouette of the daughter, swinging and swaying with her dad through all three stages.
To say I bawled would be an understatement. I could have filled a pool with the tears that were streaming down my face, watching my daughter’s life pass before my eyes, months before she had even arrived.
The term “Daddy’s Girl” became official that day, and five years later, every time I hear that song goosebumps fill my arms, and an occasional tear will bubble up in the corner of my eye.
She spins and she sways to whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I’m sitting here wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders
It’s been a long day and there’s still work to do
She’s pulling at me saying “Dad I need you!”
We have but little time with our kids before they grow up, and move on with their own lives. It happens really fast, and often we’re like Chapman, wearing the weight of the world on our shoulders, when really our world is tugging at us, asking us to dance.
This hits close to home for me, as I struggle daily with the stress of running my own insurance office, and making sure I provide for my family.
I reject her requests to play Barbie’s with, “Not yet,” or “In a minute,” and all of a sudden that minute becomes an hour, a day, a month and so on. Until one day you’re writing a column about spending time with your daughter and you realize, you need to spend more time with your daughter.
Princess Lia (yes, I have a Luke and I have a Lia – and a Levi) turns five this week, the middle child, and only girl. Rest assured, a father/daughter date has already been planned (have to take advantage of our free Red Robin birthday burgers) and a playdate with Barbie, Bieber and whoever else is in the group will follow.
Whether or not my Cinderella gets married or “Cinderella” makes it into her wedding, won’t really matter. The song has already made – and continues to make – an impact in my life.
‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight, and she’ll be gone.