While at a wedding recently, we watched as they called the father of the bride and mother of the groom to come forward to dance with their respective children. The pairs looked graceful and like they were having a good time.
As a father of a bride — twice — it had also been my lot to dance with my daughters in full view of those assembled. Even in my youth — when everything worked — I was a crummy dancer. In high school, girls would suggest we just sit out each dance, which was fine with me.
At my daughters’ weddings, we were called upon to prove to the world not only that we were happy for their new estate, but also that I was not yet too far gone.
To make this illusion work, we practiced for weeks to do that first dance. We were not choreographed, but still had our moves somewhat planned. Not that my daughters needed tutoring, but their father required both skill and confidence.
We chose our song. It would have to be something upbeat and yet not too physically demanding. We went through the list of possibilities trying to find a tune that we both knew or that I could learn.
Once decided, we walked through our paces, fine-tuning the parts where my abilities were lacking. Kindly, gently, my daughters exercised patience that must have been learned from their other parent.
Our goal was to look like we did this often and it came naturally. The truth is, I do not remember ever dancing with my daughters before their weddings.
Twirl, twist, step and step — we made it around the dance floor, assuming people were impressed, or at least not shocked.
We had labored very hard to make this look spontaneous and stress-free.
Watching the dancers at that recent wedding brought to mind how some other difficult activities look easy after you have practiced them long and hard.
It appears easy when a seasoned teacher does a math lesson, a veteran grocery clerk checks out a customer quickly or an experienced doctor removes a wart. If you do something enough, it looks simple or undemanding. Unfortunately, people start underestimating the work. That can be dangerous.
If you do not think this is true, get your blood drawn by an inexperienced phlebotomist — I’ll stick with those who make it look easy because they have been doing it a while.
You are better off with a surgeon who has done 100 procedures than one who has done two. Sure, you have to get experience somewhere, but not on me.
Or, dance with your daughter at her wedding without practicing. The result may not be fatal, but it can take the luster off an event that cost you several thousand dollars. Even worse, you might embarrass the bride.
To perform or teach or do anything well takes preparation and experience.
It is kind of like parenthood.
• Mike McLellan can be contacted by calling and leaving a message at 830-4231 or emailing him at DrMikeM@sbcglobal.net.