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Never Pass Up a Chance to Dance with Cinderella!

So I'll Dance with Cinderella - Steven Curtis ChapmanOne night while putting our then 3½ year old daughter to bed something happened that had a big impact on me. Each evening before bed our daughter gets to pick two books from her shelf for daddy to read, and that night I was in the middle of reading her “Cinderella” when she asked me something.

We’d just gotten to the part where Cinderella first meets the prince at the ball, and he asks her to dance. My daughter jumped up and said, “Let’s do that!” I’m ashamed to say my first thought was, “I’m too tired tonight to pretend to be the prince and dance around your bedroom.”  That’s when it happened.

A song by Steven Curtis Chapman, coincidentally named “Cinderella”, popped into my head, and in a flash I was on my feet twirling my little girl around the room in an atrocious facsimile of a waltz. Sure, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli of Dancing with the Stars would have both given me a 0, but I didn’t care.

If you’ve listened to this song, I think you’ll understand what caused my rather rapid change of attitude. As tired as I was, I knew there would be a day in the future when my little girl would stop asking me to dance. I never want to look back and realize I’d missed these few magical, fleeting moments.

I wrote a post a while back about a parent who wakes one morning to find a note from his adult daughter; a note he doesn’t like. The twist: at the time he found the note, that same daughter was actually still a baby, asleep in her crib; the note was from the future, and he still had time to change things.

Believe me, I’m no better than any other dad. I make mistakes all the time, but I always try to keep in mind this time with our children will be gone in a blink of the eye. If you’re scared you might get a letter like this one, now is the time to start making changes. There’s still time to rewrite that letter!

Now… go dance with Cinderella. 🙂

.

UPDATE: I just found out something I didn’t know about this song. Several months after writing it, in May 2008, Chapman’s youngest daughter, Maria Sue, died as a result of an car accident, and the song took on a whole new meaning for the Chapman family. While the song had originally been written as a message to love and cherish parenthood while it lasted, it acquired another message of the frailty of life and how suddenly it can change. Go hug your kids. Please.

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  1. Rachael

    Such a sweet moment. Sometimes it’s so hard to remember to cherish those moments when you are worn out after a long day but I know SCC will be forever grateful he took the time to dance. I try to remind myself to take just a few minutes and enjoy their childhood. 🙂

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Rachael! Once I hauled my tired butt up out of her little children’s reading chair it was fun. 🙂 In fact she requested an encore dance a while later after we finished reading “Just in Case You Ever Wonder” (her second book selection for the night). 🙂

  2. Seth

    If you haven’t seen the movie Courageous, I’d recommend. Whether you’re religious or not, there are parenting elements that applicable to everyone. The situation you describe is similar to an decision of the movie, except daddy makes the wrong decision.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Appreciate the recommendation, Seth. I just checked and Courageous is available on Netflix in DVD and Blu-ray formats. Will definitely give it a look.

  3. Bonnie Way

    Beautiful. This reminds me of a scene from the movie Courageous. Dr. Dobson also mentions this song (and the story behind it) in his book Bringing Up Girls. Thanks for sharing it… make me cry. 🙂

    1. Michael Schmid

      Your the second commenter to mention Courageous. I see it’s out on Netflix now, so I’ll have to check it out. Sorry I made you cry, Bonnie. It has that effect on me, too.

  4. Rafael

    You are right. We have to seize the opportunity than regret that we never took the chance.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Truer words were never spoken, Rafael. It’s so easy to get caught up in other stuff, though, isn’t it?

  5. Laura

    Each evening before bed our daughter gets to pick two books from her shelf for daddy to read, and that night I was in the middle of reading her “Cinderella” when she asked me something.

  6. Albert Wineshouse

    Finally I came across a daddy blog. Mummy blogs dominate the internet. You inspire me a lot man, I make a lot of mistakes too but I always find a way to prove to my kids that I am the best dad they can ever have.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hey, Albert! You’re kids are very lucky to have you. We don’t need to be perfect, as no one is. We just need to love them and let them see it. For guys, more than anything, that probably amounts to giving them our undivided attention as much as possible. I’m definitely a work in process as a dad.

  7. Jeanne Stryker

    For sure you have a great time together with your kid. I adore you for spending wonderful time on your kid. I know that you are a good father and I salute you on that. Reading books to your kid is an essential way for you to express your love.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks, Jeanne. I loved reading when I was a boy, and I’d like to instill that love in my daughter. But as you say, it’s more about just spending quality time with her. Half of the time we’re supposed to be reading we’re off on imaginary adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. I’m usually Pooh.

  8. Leticia

    Good stuff share in this post. I like it so much.
    Thanks…….

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you so much, Leticia. I just write what I’m feeling or thinking at any point. 🙂

  9. Jeff Whittle

    I’ve got good news, Michael…they never quit asking you to dance.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks, Jeff! I do hope that’s true. It’s hard sometimes when you’re worn out get up off your tired old butt and dance… but I try to make myself do it. 🙂 I’d hate to miss the dance.

  10. Crystal

    Congrats! Your inspiring post was the #2 most clicked post in The Mommy Club last week! Thank you so much for linking it up. I loved reading it!The new linky is up and RUNNING! Hope you stop over and link up more of your wonderful post!

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalandcomp.com/2012/06/the-mommy-club-share-your-resources-and-solutions-47/

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks so much, Crystal. I tweeted your linky a couple of times, and will try to stop buy if I have a chance. Have a super weekend!

  11. Marcos T. Rodrigues

    Early in the morning I have had a good and inspiring post to read, just as I have also read before that we as parent take the chance when our kids are still young and we can get to accompany them as long we enjoy each other if they grow older they have their own world.

    1. Michael Schmid

      You’re right, Marcos. Now while they are young is when we must give them the time and attention they deserve. All too soon they are grown and busy with their lives. I’d like to think today’s investment will at least make that life happier, and perhaps as an added benefit they will come visit their old dad more often?

  12. Paul Wandason

    Beautiful piece! I often dance with my 3 and a half year old (actually I just pick her up and we spin around the lounge…until she she’s something we placed at high level out of her reach that she’d like to play with!)

    I’m bracing myself for her big day when she asks me for a dance at her wedding.

    And yes, I’ll be crying like a baby!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks so much for your comment, Paul. I’ll try to get by your blog as soon as possible. You’re comment about picking your daughter up and spinning around reminded me of this video my wife took of me and our daughter when she was only a month or two old:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwQxU1yky_w

  13. Power My Life

    This is a heartwarming post. Thanks for reminding us that life is too short and you never want to pass up a chance to spend precious time with your children. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    1. Michael Schmid

      You’re very welcome. Thanks for dropping by our site, Oncor (aka: Power My Live). 🙂

  14. Autism United

    Wonderful message! I also went and read that Dear Daddy letter, and I am sitting here with tears for all those little girls and Dads who are too busy for each other.
    Time passes us so so quickly and they are gone before we know it. Savor the day right!
    My children have all grown and left the nest and now we have our grand children to spoil, but it makes me wonder if we did miss out on some opportunities and that I must call my kids and remind them how proud we are and how much they are loved.
    Thank You!!!!

    1. Michael Schmid

      I’m glad this touched you, and if it made you reach out to your kids even just once more than you would have, I’m glad I wrote it. Thank you. I’m blessed by all the time I’m able to have with our daughter. Tonight I’m taking her a big Daddy Daughter Dance, and tomorrow we’re all flying to Walt Disney World. I know how lucky I am. Thanks again for your kind comment. Have a great weekend!

  15. Grant Cox

    Well said Michael. I myself hate dancing but my daughter loves it, of course. Even the greatest amount of shame and embarrassment that comes from my lack of rhythm couldn’t stop me from hitting the dance floor with her. Those are moments a dad should never miss. Thanks for the post!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hi Grant! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Yeah, I’m not the world’s best dancer either, but in our young daughters’ eyes we’re the “prince” and lord of the dance. I agree, we don’t want to miss these moments. Too soon they will be grown and gone.

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