69 years old. My Father just turned 69, like yesterday.
The man is taking Salsa lessons and KILLING it. So much so that recently his ballroom school put on a showcase for the holidays. All of their star performers got on stage and showed their stuff, from salsa to bolero to swing and tango. They asked my Dad to do a 4 minute routine as well. Big Stuff for a man who just started taking lessons a few months ago. Apparently he is the most improved student with the most natural dance ability.
My best friend Colleen and I attended the show. We were eager to see the man we grew up with be the one on stage instead of in the stands cheering. We were there to support him, in return for the many years of clapping, yelling, and pushing us to be our very own personal best.
He was very serious when he danced. Very intense and immensely engrossed in what he was doing from his head to his feet. Every now and then a huge smile graced his tan face below his salt and pepper hair. Even the special felt bottom dance boots that he purchased just for his classes were shined up so meticulously you could see your reflection in them.
He practiced with his partner during the open floor dance, I even had the opportunity to hit the floor with Dad.
Then it was go time! The entire school sang him a big, loud Happy Birthday to his surprise, then the music started.
I was in awe.
It was as much a defining moment in my own life as it was in his.
One of my closest friends lost her father recently, anothers has a degenerative disease. The infallible men we knew as little girls are becoming frail and sick. It is a huge encumbrance but inevitable. My Father is dancing salsa and I am so incredibly grateful for that.
He was so nervous. He wanted it to be perfect. It was.
I cannot seem to explain the feeling....but the best I can do is to say that it was really inspiring. Truly inspiring.
Not like loose definitions of the words amazing and inspiring. Truly fucking inspiring.
If I have half the energy, chutzpa, pride, youthfulness, courage, dedication, and passion for something new in my entire life, let alone at 69 I will be lucky.
If a kid can be proud of their parent....I guess that's what I am.
|Dad and his Salsa partner Liz|
|Dad teaches me to Salsa|