A Simple Valentine’s Day Dance

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-maines/a-simple-valentines-day-dance_b_2586707.html


02/07/2013

Nicole was 10 years old, openly attending school as a transgender girl, and Valentine’s Day was right around the corner. I was working late on a farm safety problem when Dave, the custodian, poked his head into my office to say “hi.” Dave often shares a few words of old Mainer wisdom or a good joke to cheer me up. He was well aware of the bullying and harassment that my daughter was facing at school. This time he told me about his weekend plans with his granddaughter. They were going to attend a Valentine’s Day dance.

He proudly described the small-town Mainer tradition that requires fathers or grandfathers to escort their granddaughters to the local community center or firehouse dance. He told me that he was going to borrow a friend’s Cadillac, buy his granddaughter flowers and a corsage and take her to dinner before the dance. He showed me her picture, and when we’d finished talking, I told him what a beautiful granddaughter he had. He smiled and said, “Thank you, Wayne,” and went back to work.

After he left, it hit me. It was another one of those moments that require me to expand my comfort zone. I began to wonder if Orono had a Valentine’s Day father-daughter dance. Dancing is my last big fear, but I knew that if I was asked, I had to go. I could not let Nicole think I was afraid to do so.

Later that evening Nicole came home, and while we were preparing dinner, she announced that there was going to be a dance at the town recreation building. I am sure I flinched, and I glanced at Kelly, wondering what her reaction would be when I responded. Having already thought about it made it easier for me to respond. Regardless of my fear, I could not break my daughter’s heart. I said, “That is great!” Nicole smiled and gave me a hug, and nothing more was said; it appeared to be a natural event, but for me it was not.

The night of the dance finally arrived. Nicole and Kelly had corsages and new dresses, Jonas had a new shirt and tie, and I put on my best suit. The kids had no idea how stressed and nervous I was, but I think Kelly at least had a clue. When we arrived, all our friends and fellow community members were having fun and waiting to dance. Jonas ran over to his buddies with no worries or cares. I imagined that Kelly and even Nicole were waiting to see what I would do. I could be wrong, but I thought it was a test — and, for Nicole, confirmation that she was my daughter.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-maines/a-simple-valentines-day-dance_b_2586707.html

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