According to my Mama one night my father was driving up and down levels in a parking garage trying to find an empty space for our big black 1989 suburban. I was just an infant crying and crying in the back seat. Frustrated because we were late to an event, my father pulled the truck in park and stepped out to grab me. He gently swooped me up out of the car seat and began dancing with me in the middle of the parking garage. Quickly I calmed down and stared up at him with my big brown eyes as he sang, “My Girl” by The Temptations that just happened to be playing in the background. That was it. From that moment forward “My Girl” was our song. My favorite song.
From then on Daddy would dance with me anytime it came on. In the garage at home while he tuned up his bike, in the kitchen at Nani and Poppie’s, even at Round Table during a softball end of the year party. We always stole the show at weddings when he let me dance on his toes. It didn’t matter when or where, we would dance. This song holds a forever happy memory in my heart and brings the smell of zest soap and exhaust to life every time I hear it.
As a wedding photographer over the years I have grown numb to hearing this song for Father/Daughter dances. I swear every 3rd wedding this song is chosen by the bride to dance with her Daddy. At first it was a struggle and my eyes would water, easily coming off as a sincere happy tear for the bride. Now it’s just another tradition.
This last weekend I had the opportunity to photograph a dear friend that I have known since kindergarten. Together we have made every sacrament together (excluding baptism) and it was such an honor to watch her wear another white dress and capture her walk down the aisle to seal the sacrament of marriage. Their day was absolutely gorgeous and it felt great to love and serve a family I have known for years.
When it was time for the Father/Daughter dance… I heard it. “Bumm. Bum. Badada. Bump. I’ve got sunshine… On a cloudy day…” Honestly at that moment I held it all together. This was by far the most popular dance for father’s and I was in the zone for capturing laughs and squeezes during their dance.
It wasn’t until I felt a warm hug come from behind and a sweet whisper from the bride’s mother, “I know this is your song too, sweetie. Your Daddy is so proud of you and this is for you as well.” And that’s when the flood of tears swelled in my eyes. It wasn’t solely because I missed my father, but because someone remembered. Someone with a heart that knows my past remembered.
I take great pride in capturing memories, because truly at the end of the day that’s all we have. Photographs help spark those memories and will forever be cherished, but there is something to be said about having roots. Surrounding yourself with people that care. People that love you and enjoy watching you grow. I am beyond blessed to have a tribe of families that know my past and cheer for my future. I wouldn’t be where I am today without these families. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
May you grab your loved ones and dance. Dance in the drive way, dance in the kitchen, dance any chance you can! We never know when the last dance will be.
Happy Father’s Day!
With lots of love, Quianna Marie
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