Maya Angelou was once asked what was her secret to being such a good writer and poet. Her response was, “Because when I was a little girl, every time I walked into a room my daddy’s eyes lit up.”
One of the greatest joys of my life is to have a daughter. It’s also is one of my greatest concerns. I know that the way a lot of little girls grow up to think about God is influenced by how they saw their dad. I’d like for my life to be a bit of a parable for Eden to see God more clearly through.
But I also have learned something about God through Eden. Actually, I’ve learned a lot through her. I’ve learned what it looks like to trust someone implicitly. The other day, Eden actually told me “Don’t worry about anything daddy, because God is in your heart!”
Did I mention that she is two?
Leslie and I have learned a lot about unconditional love through how we feel about her. We’ve re-learned about the kind of innocent curiosity that life can beat out of you. And she’s taught us how to treat people better. Eden sees people. Better than I do, the world hasn’t taught her yet that certain people aren’t supposed to be treated kindly. So she will stop in the grocery store, and make Leslie say hi to people that she wants to get to know. She hasn’t quite bought into the whole concept of boundaries just yet.
But probably the best thing that she has taught us is how to dance.
Almost every night, the Storment’s have a dance party. One that is almost always initiated by Eden. Her particular favorites right now, are Nelly, Black Eyed Peas, Nat King Cole, and of course, the Tangled soundtrack. And almost every night, we get together and dance. Some might say that what I do looks more like convulsions. But Eden hasn’t complained yet.
What’s great about this particular Storment tradition is that we never had to teach Eden to dance. It was intuitive for her. Maybe it was just a side effect that comes from being fresh from Heaven, or maybe it was that Leslie and I just love music so much. But whatever the cause, the result has been nothing but Joy.
This has been one of the best spiritual practices of Leslie’s and my life. It’s been a hard last few months, filled with lots of good-bye’s and hello’s, we’ve had our lives turned upside down and struggled to feel settled. But we never stopped dancing, because Eden wouldn’t let us.
This past Friday night, the Highland Church was having a Daddy/Daughter dance. So I of course, had quite the hot date. It was all Eden could talk about for the days leading up to it. She picked out my clothes, and I picked out hers. We made jewelry, wrote letters to each others (only mine was legible) and walked to church. On the way there, it struck me. This probably won’t last as long as I’d like it too. There’s a time coming, when Eden might not even want to dance with me.
One day, probably sooner that I’d like, I’ll have to stand before some chump who wants to marry my daughter. A minister will ask me who gives her away, and social convention will force me to say “Her mother and I” Even though every instinct I have will be screaming to take my little girl and run the other way.
Every wedding I’ve done, since having Eden, I always look at the Father of the Bride when I ask him this. I want to see how he’s holding up to no longer being the main man in his little girl’s life. I know my day is coming. Sure, I know I’ll probably be happy too. Like most life changes, this will be bitter-sweet. But the little girl who asks me to dance every night will one day belong to someone else.
But I look forward to reception.
Because there will be dancing.
And I just might get to dance with the bride one last time.