Last week, I posted some photos of Esther-Faith “dancing” with her Daddy. She wasn’t wearing her orthotics. One of my blog readers left this question in the comments section, “She’s not supposed to ‘be able’ to do that right?

No, she’s not. I wish I would have kept a list of all the things my heart feared she wouldn’t be able to do. All the things I heard. All the “worst case scenarios” we were told. All the “nevers” we feared would be true. And all the surprises she has given us by doing those very things. I really wish I had that list. Because look at her. She sings. She dances. She plays. She is sassy. And she is gentle. She crawls. She walks. She even runs.

Last night, she played soccer with Isaac.

I wish I had that list so I could cross things off of it.

Those photos of Esther-Faith and Tim are some of my favorites. Esther-Faith crawled up to her daddy and asked, “Do you want to dance?” She does this a lot. To me. To Isaac. But when she does it to her Daddy, something tugs at my heart. A nostalgic twinge.

At my wedding nearly 11 years ago, I walked up to my very conservative father and asked him to dance. It wasn’t the first time we had danced. Growing up, Dad used to put records on the record player, and we would dance. Ride of the Valkyries. Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops. Alabama.

When I was really small, I used to stand on his feet. When I got older, he tolerated my rap music and sometimes even bopped his head trying to understand.

But we danced.

When I asked him to dance at my wedding, I honestly expected him to turn me down. But he surprised me by taking me in his arms-like I was five again-and whispering that he would LOVE to dance with me. My wedding was maybe the first time I had ever seen my dad dance in public. And next to being dipped in the pouring rain by my new husband, it is one of my most favorite memories of that day. He gently twirled me around the dance floor never letting go. Just like we were in the big living room with the painted floor at our old house in Leetonia.

Only I was wearing a long, white dress. And he was wearing a dark suit.

And I was someone else’s Mrs.

When we received Esther-Faith’s diagnosis, we didn’t know if she was going to be a boy or a girl. We thought not knowing was one of the last “great surprises” in life. So, we waited. The boys were convinced she was a girl. Because they had prayed for a sister. When I sat in those rooms wearing that orange corduroy shirt listening to a neurosurgeon and a developmental pediatrician and a social worker explain what would be wrong with my baby, I was so overwhelmed that I wished I didn’t believe in “great surprises.”

Because that diagnosis was a “great” surprise.

But the day she was born. The day she decided to be born. The day she didn’t wait for her scheduled c-section. THAT day, I thought about my wedding and that dance with my dad. Just after my doctor, performing an emergency c-section, pulled my baby out of my uterus, Tim, with a smile bigger than I had ever seen on his face, leaned close to me and said, “We have a daughter.”

Suddenly, I believed in “great surprises,” again.

And all of those warnings and diagnosis and fears flooded my body and I started to shake. Not cry. Shake. With fear. And cold. And probably from the four narcotics they had to give me just to numb my body. But I shook. And I was immediately and desperately sad. For my husband. For my Tim.

What if he never gets to dance with his daughter?

So when she crawls up to him, laces her fingers through his, and they dance, it gets me every time. Every single time. Because Tim smiles at her like he did at me the day she was born, and he says, “I would LOVE to dance with you.”

And they dance.

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