Moonwalking with my Father


When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was stay up late and watch TV with my Dad. We would sit on the couch in companionable silence together and I reveled in playing “big girl” while Mom put my little sister to bed.

Music was a big part of my childhood and I LOVED Michael Jackson. When it was announced that MTV would be doing a “Michael Marathon” the week prior to the world premier of “Scream” I channeled my inner puppy dog eyes and BEGGED to play “big girl”…. and I got my wish. For an entire week Daddy and I sat in front of the TV and watched interview after video after interview of Michael. Dad taught me how to set up our tape recorder and with my allowance I bought enough video tapes to record the ENTIRE week, beginning to end.

The only time I was away from MTV and my dad was when I had to tear myself away to go to school in the morning (or if he caught me asleep in middle of the night and carried me upstairs). When class let out, I would get dropped off at my bus stop and RACE back inside to make sure Dad had been changing the tapes diligently throughout the day. I needn’t of worried, he always had. He’s promised right?

The evening of the “Scream” premier arrived and there we sat, him a bear of a man and me a tiny little thing, on the floor in the living room with a bowl of popcorn between us. As the video rolled, Dad and I held hands. This is one of the most colorful memories I have of my father. I was young enough then that the angry adolescent Maggie hadn’t reared her head yet and just old enough that I think for the first time I could call my Daddy “my friend” which is a special thing to a little girl.

I miss my Father every day, but some days more acutely than others. Last Sunday was Father’s Day, which always rocks me…. but the death of Michael makes this week even harder (which I didn’t think was really possible). Michael was always “Ours,” Dad and I. With this icon’s passing, I feel like I’ve lost one more of the beautiful silver threads I hold that reach to memories of my Dad. Michael was supposed to be the one of us that lived and danced forever.

No matter the noise and the controversy surrounding Michael’s death, I choose to still see him as he once was. He was a man so full of joy that it could not be contained and a man so influential the world screamed his name; but most importantly to me, Michael was the person my daddy and his little girl could boogie dance to…. Even if Dad never could get the moonwalk quite right. For this reason, Michael will always be remembered fondly and with a smile.

Life is a little quieter today…. and a little less bright, now that Michael is gone.

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