“I want to wear my pink tutu.”
Those words, which I never imagined hearing said to me, came out of the mouth of my 3-year-old daughter Hattie. This past Saturday my wife Tina and I were trying to get our daughter ready for her first dance recital. It was not a grand recital (that will be coming in the spring), but instead was just a little one-hour show at the dance studio that would allow all the little girls to show off what they had learned the past few months.
So there I was Saturday helping my wife dress our daughter for the show. I was responsible for ironing her dance studio T-shirt that she would wear that day. I had to make sure to put a towel inside the shirt so I would not melt the print on the front of the shirt. My wife was very adamant about that.
My wife thankfully dealt with making sure our daughter’s hair was pulled up, which our daughter hates by the way, and made sure her dance bag was packed correctly. I made sure to have our daughter go to the bathroom before we left and then putting on her correct black leggings — just the black ones and not the black glittery ones.
We somehow got her dressed right, avoided a meltdown about not being able to wear the pink tutu, and even got to the dance studio on time — a minor miracle in itself.
For the next hour, we sat in the front row watching our little one perform her dance routines with her classmates and, of course, Hattie stole the show or at least stole the show for us.
The first routine was a simple tap number but our daughter stood there watching her classmates, and occasionally looked down at her feet with a puzzled look on her little face. Hattie wasn’t upset or crying or bored even, which begged the question, why didn’t she do the routine?
Well, our daughter was using the first time through the routine as a practice to watch her classmates perform the routine. Minutes later when they went through the number again, she was right there step for step tapping her little feet and even proudly flinging out her arm with a dramatic and fierce purpose at the end.
Hattie would repeat that watching, then performing, with the next routine, the one with her ballet slippers, but there was no hesitation with the show’s closing number, which was our daughter’s personal favorite, the Hokey Pokey. And in case you are wondering, she put her left leg in, she put her left leg out and shook it all about like a champion.
Her little group of dancers, as well as the older girls, wrapped the show up with showing off some tumbling moves they had practiced. Hattie got so excited she tried to cut in line a few times to go back and do it again. Afterwards, all the dancers got some candy as a treat and we headed home for the afternoon with a very excited little girl who was pretty proud of her dancing.
So that is what I did on a Saturday filled with college football.
You see, I used to spend Saturdays watching ESPN’s College Gameday and then channel surfing through all the college football I could digest. There was no talk of tutus (pink or of any color) or ballet or dancing, and I surely wasn’t stepping away from my football watching unless it was to grill up some steaks or maybe go to the movies.
Thankfully, I am no longer a bachelor, and now my Saturdays or Mondays or any other day are spent with dancing. Whether it is watching our daughter trying to recreate the dances on “Dancing With the Stars” or simply holding her little hands and dancing with her while she wears a pink tutu in our living room — this is what my free time is used for these days.
Let me tell you something, I wouldn’t trade being a dance dad for being a football-watching bachelor any day. Just as long as I don’t have to wear a pink tutu.
RAYMOND PARTSCH III is managing editor of The Daily Iberian.