So every year our church has this variety show. As the director put it, “This is not a talent show. No talent is necessary.” Some people sing. Some dance. Some play an instrument or tell jokes or do a little skit. In the past, I think somebody even demonstrated how to throw a baseball or something. There is variety. Hence the name.
So my daughter ended up learning this country line dance with some friends of hers. They’ve been practicing after church in 20-minute sessions that turn to 45-minute sessions. My daughter got the song on her iPod so she could practice at home. She’s been doing little heel-toes and ball-chains all over the kitchen for weeks.
They bought matching denim skirts and borrowed cowgirl hats and boots. The lady who taught them the dance even bedazzled some t-shirts for them to wear and bought them belts with giant shiny strawberry belt buckles. Nothing says country line dance like a giant sparkly strawberry.
My daughter and her friends worked hard to learn the steps and synchronize their movements. They spent quite a bit of time planning the costumes, which we girls know was probably the whole point anyway — looking cute in a hat and boots. The actual activity is usually secondary to how cute we look doing it.
(And she did look cute, didn’t she? That skirt had the exact right amount of twirl. She didn’t break her neck in boots with a heel that high. There was the perfect amount of bedazzle on the t-shirt. The outfit worked.)
And I spent a lot of time and effort waiting for my daughter while she practiced, standing my ground and not taking her to a Country-Western store to buy an expensive costume, talking to other moms on the phone about schedules and skirts and boots, walking up and down the stairs to our mission barrel to look for free boots and hats, and -again- refusing to spend ridiculous amounts of money on hats and boots and skirts and chaps that don’t exactly go with those little hooded short-sleeved shirts my daughter wears every day. Ok, maybe they didn’t actually want to buy chaps.
And all that time and effort paid off. Because, as I said, the girls looked good. They were matchy-matchy in a way that tweens can totally pull off. And they knew the dance. They all right-stepped-behind and shuffle-ball-chained at the same time. They smiled. They moved in beat to the music. They looked like they were having a great time.
But as the music was playing and our entire church sat in the darkened auditorium watching my daughter dance on the spotlit stage, the song blared through the loudspeakers, and I realized the one thing I clearly did not spend enough time and energy doing. I did not ever actually listen to the song they were dancing to.
As my daughter and her five tween friends scooted their boots around the front of our church, this is the Alan Jackson song she was heel-toeing it to:
Pig in the ground, beer on ice,
Just like ole Hank taught us about
Singin’ along, Bocephus songs
Rowdy friends all night long
Lord, we’re having a good time . . .
Shot of tequila, beer on tap
Sweet southern woman set on my lap . . .
I wanna have fun
It’s time for a good time . . .
A shot of tequila, beer on tap
A good looking woman to set on my lap . . .
Oooh, yeah, a good time.
Oh, yeah. I always dreamed my daughter would one day perform in front of the entire church to a song about tequila and good looking women sitting on men’s laps.
After the show, I told one father, whose sweet daughter played the piano and sang a song about Jesus, that his daughter had done a super job. He did what all nice people do — he smiled and told me my daughter did a good job as well. Yeah, but we clearly know whose child won the Miss Spirituality portion of the contest, I thought.
I laughed and said, “Well, I learned a valuable lesson here tonight. Preview the song before allowing your daughter to dance to it in front of the church. Beer on tap.”
“Southern women on your lap,” the guy laughed as he paraphrased the next line. Then he laughed even more and said, “Ah, we don’t worry about that sort of thing here. That’s what Grace is for!”
Whew. That’s what we need — grace for when we learn lessons the hard way. Well, that and cute matchy-matchy outfits.