I Hope You Dance

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about family, and specifically about how we create our own little dynasty. In our lifetimes, we are nurtured by parents who instil in us the basis of the values by which we live our lives. Sadly, for some, this process is unsuccessful, and I know that not everyone will feel as lucky as I do. Next Sunday is Father’s Day, and I’ll be celebrating the fact that the man who helped bring me into the world is still going strong at 90. I was born in the days when everything happened in black and white, but still have a few cherished photos from that time, like this one:

As you can probably tell, that was quite some time ago – I was born in September 1953, so that photo dates from Spring 1954. I grew up in a town badly affected by WW2, particularly in terms of bomb damage, and although we didn’t know it at the time the rebuilding of our town was taking place while we were on the brink of some major social and technological changes. My teens – the years during which we begin to understand the world a little better, during which we develop our own values and political sensibilities – were played out against the backdrop of the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and all the changes they brought, not least in pop culture, but also with the growth of democracy, of people finding their voice. This was notable in student protests and demonstrations, which hadn’t happened previously on a large scale. It wasn’t as marked in the UK as elsewhere – for example, France in 1968, or the US in the anti-Vietnam War protests – but as I went through secondary school and university I like to think that my awareness of the changing world developed in me a sense of what is important in life, of the values that helped me to care about what kind of world we were creating for our children and for future generations.

As we become adults, we build relationships of our own and, if we are blessed, we help to continue our own dynastic line. I have two wonderful daughters, and would like to think that I played a little part in helping them become the people they are today. My ex-wife deserves the lion’s share of the credit for helping them become the caring, capable women they have turned out to be, but at least one of them appears to have inherited my socialist tendencies!

One of the overlooked results from a divorce – when you are the one to move out of the family home – is that you tend to leave behind the photo albums. I’ve been looking through the photos I do have, and can’t find any comparable with the one of me and my Dad. I did find a number of shots of my first born with me, like this one, probably taken when she was about 4:

The earliest I could find of her, which looks as though she was no older than 2 or 3, is this one:

I’m not sure if that look reflects guilt or pleasure. Maybe both!

And here’s one of her at 5, with her baby sister:

The reason for these reflections, and of thoughts about what the future holds for the people we love, is that this little girl has just had a baby of her own. I’m now grandfather to a beautiful granddaughter, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I could share many pictures with you, but I’ll spare you the overload! This is our new family member:

She has been born into a good family, with parents who adore her and will give her everything they can to build her life. I wonder what the future holds for her? The world in which we live is, in many ways, safer than the one I grew up in, but there are still many threats to our way of life. But it seems incongruous at such a joyous time to be thinking about that. Politicians, governments etc will continue to come and go, but the core of human life will always be there – and love, families, relationships are the essence of that.

What I hope for my lovely new granddaughter is that she will have the best life possible, and will create and take her own opportunities to make her mark in the world. The title for this piece is that of a song by Lee Ann Womack. It is about her own children, written not long after her second child was born. I’m the world’s worst dancer, but fortunately for me the metaphor is used here to mean that Lee Ann hopes her child will find and take opportunities in life – ‘I hope you never lose your sense of wonder……and when you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance’:

The adorable toddler in the video is probably around 20 now, and I wonder how her life has developed? Like her mum, I have hopes for my granddaughter’s future, but really these all boil down to one thing – that the little ones will be happy in whatever they do. Really, we can’t ask for any more than them taking their chance to dance, can we?


47 thoughts on “I Hope You Dance

  1. Reblogged this on Take It Easy and commented:

    This post from a year ago today popped up in my Timehop feed just now. It is my fifth most ‘liked’ post ever, and it is clear from the comments that my thoughts on family touched a chord with many. For anyone who has joined me since then, or fancies reading my thoughts again, or just wants to watch a lovely video of a beautiful song about our hopes for our children, here it is again 😊


  2. Love this so much! Thank you! This song was played at our wedding! Thank you for sharing! I’m hosting a blog party on August 3! Please join us and share you by dropping your link! And get to know other bloggers from around the world 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Clive, I’ve been busy catching up with your latest posts, but this one is the very best. Congratulations. It is wonderful when this kind of joy is steeped upon us. It makes up for so many of life’s casual cruelties. And I wish you many days of joy with this lovely granddaughter. Maybe she will be the one to teach you to dance! (A waltz, hopefully, not the limbo.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Clare. It really is special to be a grandparent. My regret is that because of my health issues I’ve not yet been able to meet her, but hopefully it won’t be long now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We don’t have a lot of photos either. More than some though so I am grateful for that. I remember once asking my parents why there were not more pictures of them when they were younger. They pulled no punches and said….We spent what little we had on things like winter coats, boots and gas for our cars…not on cameras!! 😉

        I think pictures….like the one of you and your Dad are so rare now a days….you have quite the treasure there. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I grew up in an era when cameras were still very much a luxury item, so we didn’t have many photos either. What I do have is down to my late Mum – she was incredibly organised and kept a ‘my first 7 years’ book for my sister and me. The photo of Dad comes from that book – I took a shot of it on my iPhone and cropped it. Modern technology does have its uses!


      • Oh yes it does. I still have loads of real pictures of my son (he’s about to be 22) but I have even more digital. The whole switch came when he was about 9 or so. Does make it easier to store them. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t really take that many, even with the ease of having a camera phone. I have occasional binges but then forget about doing it again for a while! Dropbox and iCloud are invaluable though!


      • It’s good to see you back, instagram is ok but isn’t the best place for sharing writing, is it! There is so much – I could spend all day reading blogs if I didn’t impose some discipline on myself!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. How lovely and how very clever that this little mite send you a Daddy’s Day Card. I wish you a speedy recovery so that you can meet her in person and I am delighted that though she had a prolonged stay in hospital that she is now home and thriving. I am overjoyed that what I said was well received. You are a special man, Clive – don’t forget it, please xx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I read this a couple of days ago but was about to go out and did not want to dash off a comment. So I have read it again and loved it just as much. Many many congratulations to the new parents and welcome to this world new baby girl. Congratulations to you too. For becoming a Grandfather, for writing such a tender and lovely post with the most appropriate and lovely of sentiments running through it and for being a father who is a big enough person to acknowledge his ex-wife’s role in raising his daughters. Would that many more were like you. I really mean that. Your daughters’ are fortunate indeed to have a daddy like you. And this new little life is just as fortunate. I wish you all joy and wonder in the upcoming days and as she grows as she surely will into a woman to be proud of xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for these lovely comments, they mean a lot. It’s been an emotional time but we’re all delighted to welcome the little one into the family. She was kept in hospital for four days – much of it in the neo-natal unit – but is now thriving at home. I even got a Father’s Day card from her today – quite the little prodigy! I haven’t met her yet – I’m in the midst of one of my infections and am terrified of passing it on – but no doubt that will happen soon. There *may* be more about her on here in the near future 😉 xx

      Liked by 2 people

  6. That was a great post Clive. I see you are a month older than me. I agree with you that we hope our children become people we can be proud of, that they find their way in the world and like you I hope my grandchildren succeed as their parents have done.
    Congrats too, a new grandchild is always an exciting addition to your ‘dynasty’.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a lovely post Clive, full of nostalgic memories and yet still firmly anchored in the present. Congratulations to you on becoming a grandfather. It sounds as though she’ll be surrounded by a world of love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Script’s “Hall of Fame” was definitely inspired by the opening instrumental to this song. Congratulations on the new family member 🙂 I wonder, do you see a lot of similarities now with protests compared to when you were a teenager?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Inspired to the point at which Lee Ann Womack has good grounds for legal action, I think! Many thanks, kind of you to read and comment. As for protests, there had been some big ones in history – the Peasants’ Revolt, Jarrow March, to name just two – but I think the 60s saw them start to take off on a major scale. Plenty of similarities with today, sadly – Neil Young’s song ‘Ohio’ about the Kent State protest has strong echoes with today’s anti-gun movement amongst young people in the US. Sadly, we don’t always learn the lessons history teaches us, do we?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bernadette. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a mother of the groom song to be honest! As a song about what we wish for our children, I think it’s perfect 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a lovely post, and many congratulations on becoming a grandfather. I have four little darlings myself – it’s nature’s reward for being a parent. I will listen to that song too, but at the moment it doesn’t ring any bells – I don’t think I know it.

    Liked by 2 people

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