Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Shut Up And Dance With Me

I hate dances. I have enough social anxiety to paralyze a gorilla and for some reason, dances bring that out more than almost anything. So I wasn't particularly shocked that my heart was in my throat last Saturday, April 30, in the hours leading up to the Daddy/Daughter Dance in Raymond.

Daddy and his beautiful date before the dance!
Grandma Susie and Mommy picked out new pretty shoes for the dance to go with her new dress.
I knew that my date would be the center of attention, something that she loves, but the residual attention I receive still makes me want to hide under my bed. In addition to her being the most adorable thing since a box full of kittens, Grace was sort of the reason for the dance, which benefitted a scholarship named after Grace for a Lincolnwood student going into a career in the medical field. Add in 70 or so very excitable young ladies and I was what I like to call "a case of baskets" leading up to the event.

Grace was all smiles hanging out with her cousins at the dance.
Bruce got to come along to the dance as well.
God bless my beautiful wife, Mary, for not only encouraging me to go, but for sticking with me when the struggle seemed more than I could take. Once we got to the dance, Grace was quickly met with smiles by many of the little girls, who kind of treat her like a minor celebrity. It was nice that my cousins Kayley, Kensey and Katelyn were there as well. They treat Grace like a little sister. Actually I've seen the way they treat each other sometimes, so they probably treat Grace better than a sister.

Grace loved dancing with Kayley and her daddy.
Grace liked snuggling with Kayley too.
For the first 15 minutes or so, I basically hid in the back of the gym with Grace and Mary. Mary told me later that she tried to distance herself from Grace and I so I would truly feel like it was our night together. After the fact, I appreciated that. At the time, I wanted her to get back over and protect me from whatever neurosis I was suffering from at the time.

Kyle and Grace, along with Kendal and Peyton dancing.
The turning point came soon after my initial shock and awe of the situation. I chatted with two of my buddies, both of whom had brought their daughters, and my Uncle Pat, who was there as Katelyn's date. Talking with Pat really helped me loosen up. He's lived a pretty unique existence and I'm totally intrigued by his new wardrobe philosophy, which he told me consisted totally of Hawaiian shirts from here on out.

Grace and her daddy dancing to George Strait.
Once I became more comfortable, I began to focus my attention less on myself and more on Grace, who was happy as a clam with all the attention. She, Kayley and I had our first dance of the night, then our second, both of which were pretty awesome. After a short break to rest my arms (a wonderful necessity as our girl has started to gain more weight!!!) and some snuggles for Kayley from Grace, we hit the dance floor again.

The night really seemed to fly by after that. We danced with Kensey to "Shut Up And Dance With Me" by Walk The Moon (one of my favorites, not kidding), watched the other daddies and daughters hula hoop and limbo, talked soccer (that's going to happen anytime my buddy Travis and I are in the same room) and witnessed the most impressive Cupid Shuffle performance ever by Katelyn and Uncle Pat.

Hanging out with Travis and Claire at the dance.
Soon the lights were coming on and everyone began to head for the doors, where it was difficult to see was happier (and sleepier), the fathers or their little girls. As I sat at one of the tables, I just held Grace and exchanged smiles. It was an awesome night, one that I almost made it all the way through without it getting a little dusty. George Strait's "I Cross My Heart" tore me up a little. It's still a mystery to me why King George never made a Pure Country 2. Love that movie.

All in all, the event raised more than $1,000 for the scholarships, which we will hand out on May 12. The purpose of the scholarship is to help keep Grace's legacy alive for years to come. Mary and I both really appreciate everyone who pitched in to make the event a success. It was definitely a night to remember for me.


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