On February 14, 2011

Dancing with Eden

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.

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  • Danny Gill

    Yeah. It’s tough when they grow up. It’s beautiful, scary, frustrating, happy, and amazing. Cherish every single moment, brother. Even before some chump marries her she’ll reach the age where her Daddy is not the person she really wants to be around much. That hurts, but it, too, is part of her growing up.

  • Kristin

    Great. Now I’m bawling and Joels looking at me like, “whatthe?”

    This is a great post. Ill have to show it to T. You’re right. The whole daddy thing is a big deal (coming from a girl with a daddy). Through you, she will learn what she needs and doesn’t need from a Father (whether she is entirely correct or not is another story) and what she can receive from Father will be largely due to your presence in her life. You have nothing to worry about, Jonathan. God gave you everything you need to be her daddy and He has all the other men and women all lined up who will come in and teach her what you could not…including, most likely, a husband.

    This is just precious. I hope our little girl teaches us to dance. Well, I say that. I know she will teach us something. Whatever it is, I hope we can learn :) I am so proud of T, already.

    PS. I bet she will never NOT want to dance with you 😉

    Love yall!

  • Scott

    As a Dad who’ll give his daughter away in June, it’s a mixed blessing for sure.
    If you haven’t listened to Stephen Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella”, then you need
    to–just have a kleenex on hand. Glad to see that the preacher dances.

  • Lauren

    I love this post so much! Your precious, and precocious princess is adorable in every way. I also love watching you as a daddy. It is so sweet to watch the relationship God is ordaining between you two.

  • JB

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever commented, but being a new daddy myself, (only 4 months) I totally empathize with your closing paragraph. My little girl, I can’t imagine, being for anyone else, will be given over. Such a precious gift our children are.

    Much love Brother.

  • Carlee Lane

    I didn’t stop smiling the whole time I was reading this. Eden is precious beyond words and you’re one of the best dads I know. I danced and twirled with Eden at a Highland praise night a couple weeks ago. Definitely the highlight of my night! Dancing in the aisles of highland with the preacher’s daughter! Sounds good to me :)

  • Kathy

    Jonathan – I too am staunching tears running down my face as I read and remember.It was my Dad that taught me to dance. Yes, I too had my own interpretation of dancing, and Dad knew I needed to harness it a bit so some young man could be happy with his date that had already learned how to follow him, in dance, that is. 😉
    My sweet Dad has been resting in the arms of Jesus for nearly 19 years, but the heart pain of missing him does not diminish! I truly pray we do recognize our loved ones in Heaven. I’m looking forward to a reunion with my Dad!!
    Eden will always love you, that I can promise, although there could come a day when she pushes you into a corner, but she’ll come running after you in a very short time. We daughters cannot live well without our dads!!!! :)

  • http://stormented.com Jonathan Storment

    Kristin, you and Travis are gonna be great parents to your little girl. Leslie and I are looking forward to watching y’all love on her from a distance. I hope your right about Eden never being too cool to dance with me…Maybe I should take lessons. :)

  • http://stormented.com Jonathan Storment

    Thanks Lauren! You are so good with words and so encouraging!

  • http://stormented.com Jonathan Storment

    JB, It was great seeing you and Ashley with her the other day. She is adorable, and y’all are great parents. Thanks for weighing in brother!

  • http://stormented.com Jonathan Storment

    Thanks Mrs. Kathy. I’m glad to hear that. And I’m glad that you danced with your dad, maybe it’s why you turned out so well! Thanks Mrs. Kathy!

  • http://stormented.com Jonathan Storment

    Thanks Bro. Danny, I hope that day doesn’t come till Eden is 25 or so. You are a great dad, thanks for sharing.

  • http://stormented.com Jonathan Storment

    Scott, I not envious of your position. Blessings on that transition brother, may God give you many, many granddaughters to dance with. By the way, I don’t know if you could call what I do dancing. Thanks brother!

  • http://stormented.com Jonathan Storment

    Carlee, thanks for this. You are really encouraging. Leslie and I think the world of you. Thanks for dancing with Eden, she loves you!