How to Dance With Your Father

Amy Oestreicher

I’ve been searching the Internet for weeks now, trying to pick the perfect song for the father-daughter dance at my wedding. I’m marrying the love of my life on June 27, and I’ve been swept up in dress fittings, ring shopping, housewarming, and daydreaming about our future together.  

I’m not stressing out about the little things you see on wedding reality shows – like the flowers, the color of the tablecloths, and so on, but I do want the song I dance with my father to be perfect.  But where do I start? 

I’ve asked my father for suggestions, but he doesn’t know.  I want the perfect sentiment to be expressed, a three-minute snippet to show my immense gratitude to my father; the most devoted, loving and hardworking man I know.

I want a song that will evoke the joy he’s constantly filled my life with.  Every 22-hour road trip to Disneyworld, every piano recital he sat through, every karate class he carpooled me to what kind of song can let him know I remember every small, selfless act?  How will he know I remember each “dadgram” he’d send me at summer camp, or each Turner Classic Movie he’d attempted to show me?  How can I show him the appreciation I’ve kept deep in my heart but haven’t always been able to share? 

Maybe my father isn’t much help with song suggestions because he too is overwhelmed with feelings.  I often wonder how he feels letting go of his only girl and youngest child.  I’m sure he is sentimental as he recalls his first dance with my mother more than forty years ago. He probably worries about me all the time, and how I will fare in the uncharted territory of marriage and adulthood.  When I become a married woman in just days, I will be closing a chapter of my life  a chapter that has been filled with unexpected medical turbulence and a bit more time spent with my parents than I had anticipated as a teen. Nobody could have predicted my coma at 18, and the life-altering events that would unfold over the next ten years. Nobody could have warned my father that his duties as a physician would extend past his office. Without hesitation, my father doubled his role as a love-filled, dedicated dad, and then a tireless hero. My father was incredible as just being a “dad”. but proved himself to be instrumental in saving my life, then keeping my spirit alive.  

I often think of the dual responsibilities that my father had to manage. As a physician, he understood the danger I was in as I was transported from hospital to hospital, surgery after surgery. To this day, I still see the unwavering strength and determination in his eyes to make sure nothing prevents me from living the health-filled limitless and vibrant life I deserve. Growing up, it was teaching me how to ski by making “pizza-wedged” shapes with my heels, or taking me to Yankee games (even though I still can’t figure out the game). When I was stuck in hospitals for months (when he wasn’t trying to analyze my latest blood work with the nurses), he was taking me for wild and crazy wheelchair rides, rubbing my feet to ease the neuropathy, or reading to me by my bedside.  Now, I just want to repay him with the perfect song.

I want to show him that I love him, even when I lose my patience, or rush by him, or forget to thank him for every little act of kindness he’s shown me since I could say the word “dad”. I want to make my father proud, to give him the confidence that I will make a wonderful wife, the faith that I will thrive living on my own.  I want the song to show that although my husband-to-be is the love of my life, my father will always have my heart.

I’m still waiting for the song to come to me.  All I want is to show my dad how unconditional my love is  whether it’s the bratty little girl he raised, the moody teen, the busy bee, the out-and-about woman, the “me” that is hard to reach sometimes. That’s the thing about fathers, I think.  They always know.  Whatever the song, whatever the mood, my father knows how much I love him.  I just want him to know that I know it too! I’m searching all over the Internet still, and I’m lost in the pages and pages that that come up with “fatherdaughter wedding song.”  

My heart is in the right place. I hear the music already.

Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this piece, Amy has found the perfect song – “Who Will Love Me As I Am?” from the musical, Side Show, a favorite musical of hers and her father’s, since she was 10. Congratulations, Amy!

Head to the Front Porch


How do you choose the perfect song to say everything you want to say to your dad on your wedding day?

 This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons. Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writing.