Tatay, Let’s Dance

I am no dancer. But I love to dance.

I love dancing because of my Tatay. He isn’t a dancer either. But by heart, he is every bit and letter of it. He dances not because he has the moves. He dances not because he rocks. He dances because he loves. He dances because he cares. He dances because that makes the women he loves smile. He simply has the heart and soul for dancing.



When I was a baby, Tatay never lulled me to sleep. Instead, he held me in his arms and danced me to sweet dreamland every night, in slow rhythmic steps.

In my childhood, Tatay twirled and swirled me endlessly making me dizzy and giddy with joy. Our home was always filled with laughter when we swayed together. He taught me his unique versions of dances and it was a delight for him to see me imitate his moves. Yet, he encouraged me to make my own steps no matter how silly it might be.

Dance in whatever way you want. Just never waste a good moment to dance,” he would often say.


In my teenage years, Tatay would just pull me from my chair, from my slumber, from my crankiness, from my boredom, from my reluctance, from my confusions to dance. He would hold me and coax me to do cha-cha or boogie when the music is “I Will Always Love You“. Tatay is just plain crazy! For him music doesn’t matter, dancing does.

Dance to any music in whatever way you want. Just never waste a good moment to dance,” he would say.


Tatay danced with me when I had my first broken heart. He held me and comforted me, not so much with words, but with a soothing slow dance. He cried with me. He never promised it’s not going to happen again. Never promised I wouldn’t get hurt again. Never promised to kill the bastard who broke my heart.

Rather, Tatay vowed to be always there for me while I am learning the dance lessons of life as I have to learn them at my pace, in my tempo until I find my rhythm. He assured me I will always have him to hold and dance with in any way I want, in any way as long as I am me.


Into adulthood, dancing was still very much part of our lives. Whether my eyes were twinkling with joy or my forehead furrowed with anxieties and concerns. Anything and everything is a good reason for Tatay to unexpectedly hold out his hand to me with eyes silently asking, “May I dance with you, anak?

Never waste a good moment to dance,” he would remind me


Humid temperature.

Ulam na daing.

Leaking roof.

Mom losing her dentures.

My promotion.

Our dog giving birth.

Simple and outrageous reasons to groove were used by Tatay.

We only need a little space to spin and twist and we have all the room to do it. So, never waste a good moment to dance,” he quips.


I cannot imagine Tatay not moving around in our small house with his humming and with me or mom in his arms. He was never embarrassed to do it in front of other people either. Through my ups and downs, dancing with Tatay  is a celebrated moment no matter how frequent. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it nor get used to it.

The night before my wedding, Tatay  asked me if he could have the honor to dance me on my last night as a single woman.

How could I ever refuse this man. So, I smiled, held out my hand and we danced with the song a father and a daughter have in their hearts. While we move in a soothing waltz, I am again transported to my growing up days, safe and protected, cared and loved.


Not with words, yet with the way he held me like those many years ago, Tatay assured me with his love. Again, he never promised that the life ahead will be entirely a bed of roses. He never promised I will never cry. He never promised to banish my future husband on the instance we disagree or fight. Instead, he vowed that his arms will always be open to hold me anytime, anywhere. He vowed I will always have him to dance with whenever I want to and IF I want to.

But of course, I will always want to dance with you, Tatay! I will always have a good reason to dance with you starting with ‘Never waste a good moment to dance.’ ” I assured him back

Tatay smiled.



Why do you love to dance so much?

I don’t exactly love dancing. But there is one thing I love the most while dancing…It is holding you or your mom close to me when we dance. Whenever you are in my arms, it’s my way of saying you are home, you are loved.


I could only hug Tatay. No other answer surpasses that.

…and I have always been welcomed home and loved unconditionally.



With his two left feet, my husband isn’t a dancer. But he hugs and loves me the best.



Tatay is teaching my hubby some dance steps.

Good luck,  Tatay!

and Sweetie,  can we grow old together with my toes pretty and complete? smooooch! :)


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