Mallie Bee started dancing in the 4th grade when her friend Rachel's mom called and asked me if I'd be interested in these girls taking a class together and us sharing the driving.
Yes and yes, and so the fledgling tiny dancers were launched into a new after-school sport.
Rachel's parents were divorced and her dad saw her on Tuesday nights - the very same Tuesdays that they danced. Before long, he told me he'd drive both ways and kill time between their lesson, thus saving me from driving.
Drive both ways??? Seriously? Where did you come from??!!!
After awhile, Mal came in the door and told me that Rachel's dad said that she could call him by his first name, Patrick.
Uh, no you can't.
Because he is an adult not your friend and you cannot call an adult by their first name when you're nine years old.
"But he said I could call him Patrick."
You may call him Mr. Patrick.
And that is how Rachel's dad has been referred to even to this day.
Mr. Patrick would take the hungry, sweaty dancers to McDonald's after their lesson for something to eat on the way home. He drove them four hours to see their dance teachers marry and then drove them home the next day. He sat with the moms in many cold, dark auditoriums watching the team in competition. He took the girls to the So You Think You Can Dance tour and many times to see the Royals play. He took them to the Ozarks for water skiing. He was the bartender for the adults at the year-end party. He has been a fixture in this dance life of ours, and now that the girls are in college pursuing different goals we don't get to see him. I always ask about him, though, for he was the only dance dad that showed up for everything.
This past weekend, Mal was in the senior recital at school. The seniors each do a solo and then choreograph and teach a dance to the underclass students to perform. Mallie Bee was in three dances.
Sigh.................she's such a lovely dancer.
For as many of these recitals that I've been to with both of our girls, it never occurs to me to buy flowers until I'm there and see all the other parents with their heaping bouquets. Major. Parental. Fail.
Will came home from school to see his sister along with Maggie and Nate. It was a great show with amazing talent and when it was over we all went out to get something to eat.
Burgers with fries................just like back in the day when Mr. Patrick was behind the wheel, and it could have only been more perfect if he and Rachel had joined us.