The Dance of a Lifetime

The previous post described Trenton and Jessica’s rehearsal party, wedding and reception earlier this summer.  This post is all about the mother / son dance.

credit: A.E. Images

credit: A.E. Images

This one is for the medical moms.  If you are not one, it will help you understand.

Look closely at this picture, the crowd specifically.  Notice all the people on the right half who are not paying attention, and the only one who really is – my son, Austin.  Now look on the left.  Just to the side of Valerie is Austin’s wife, Kira.  The man next to Kira is John, Valerie’s brother-in-law.  Over his left shoulder, you can barely see my sister-in-law, Cammy, as she leans to get a better view of the dance.  At the left edge of the picture is Valerie’s sister, Vicki, dabbing the tears from her eyes (from watching the dance).  The dark spot above Vicki is my ninety-seven-year-old dad’s left shoulder, and I am next to him, just out of the picture; we stood with our backs to the wall during the whole dance to get the full view.

I knew what was happening.

Jessica and Trenton’s wedding in June, 2018 was a milestone for our family, and everyone there knew it.  Of course weddings are a milestone, but THE DANCE was a significant moment that only our family and closest friends could appreciate.

The months leading up to the wedding were filled with the usual planning, including what would be the song for the mother and son dance.  Trenton suggested “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor,” by the metal band Drowning Pool.  Yeah, that didn’t get much traction.  The first and only song that came to my mind, however, was the Joe Cocker version of “You Are So Beautiful,” because of its history with Valerie and Trenton.

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Two years out from his first miracle heart transplant, little three-year-old Trenton would sit alone at home with Valerie during the day, and they sang to each other, “You are so beautiful to me” (at that age, Trent pronounced it “booful”).  We were still in awe of what we had experienced, a bit of disbelief, and extra Still Thankful, so this private time with Trent was special to Val.

Notice how Valerie is holding Trent tightly.  She cried the whole dance.  She cried…A LOT…the whoooooole dance.  The only time I recall Valerie crying harder in the past decade was 2014 when Trenton arrested.

This was not that cry (a far cry from it).  It was completely opposite.

The average twenty-six-mile marathon takes four hours and thirty-five minutes to finish.  Wimps.  The average medical mom marathon is unknown, but hours is nothing for them.  For some it’s days, but for others it never ends.  Imagine a marathon that you are forced to enter, have no idea when or where the finish line will appear, but must continue running at your top pace.  On this day, Valerie was a marathoner who had crossed a finish line after running nonstop for twenty-three years, in the heat of the day, and pitch black of some of our darkest nights, not certain where her foot would land or that there actually WAS a finish line, and sometimes fearful of witnessing the ending.

Valerie’s finish line on this day was glorious (aside from the DJ first playing a few seconds of “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor”), and at the moment of THE DANCE she crossed the line as her emotions were released on Trenton’s shoulder.  So many tears, and not one of sadness; each was pure joy.  Not only was Trenton grown, on his own and now married, but he found Jessica, the ideal woman for him.

Pure.  Joy.

As you watch this video, imagine being Valerie and finishing that twenty-three-year marathon.  It was truly and literally…

the dance of a lifetime.


For you medical moms running your own marathons: just keep running.  May your finish line be glorious.  For you, I’m Still Thankful.

P.S. Valerie and I live in a highrise on the edge of downtown Dallas.  The morning after finishing this blog post, I followed my usual routine of going downstairs to exercise in the gym while Valerie was still sleeping.  Midway through my workout, she appeared, frantically showing me both of our cell phones.

“David, Trenton was calling multiple times in the middle of the night!”

“He’s fine.”

“No, I need to know!”

“Heeeeee’s fiiiine.”

I proceeded to explain:

An hour earlier, I had gone downstairs to the lobby for coffee and was told by our concierge, Stephan, that Trent had appeared at 2AM hoping to get into our place.  While attending a concert nearby, Trenton’s phone battery died, he needed to recharge it in order to access his GPS for the drive home, and did not have a charger in his car.  Stephan quizzed Trent and checked his identification before helping him try to contact us.  They both called, multiple times to each cell phone, to no avail before Stephan accompanied Trenton to our door.  They knocked again and again, awakening neighbors, but not Val and me.  Stephan and Trent eventually found a solution to charge the phone and Trent got home fine.

Not wanting to wake Valerie for a problem that didn’t exist, I let her continue to sleep while I went to exercise.  So, Val awoke with no one around, saw multiple calls from Trenton AND our concierge at 2:00 in the morning, and panicked fearing something had happened to Trent.  Two hours later, once she had time to calm down, Valerie told me, “I’m still shaking.”

…and the marathon continues.