It was a big day.
My girl’s first date.
The Daddy Daughter Dance.
We stood before the mirror. The warm smell of strawberry shampoo and hairspray mingled with hot metal. It rose off the curling iron as I wrapped her hair in tight ringlets. She bounced before her reflection about as patient as a frog in a frying pan. Her little feet teetered back and forth. Her hands fluttered along the vanity. Patience may be a virtue, but for this excited little girl, ten minutes of standing still was more than enough still time. With each twist, she twirled her head toward me.
“Almost done, Mumma? How many more?”
“Just a few,” I promised, exasperated by the amount of hair I had left to curl. And though it was far longer than we’d ever taken to get her ready for an event thus far, it wasn’t lost on me that this would be the quickest she’d ever take to get ready for any future first date.
Once her hair was set, I swept on a dusting of eye shadow, and even allowed a brush of mascara. My girl loves to be dolled up, and I bent my rules of no makeup outside of the house for this special occasion.
After hair and makeup, it was time for the dress. The one she picked out in Macy’s. The last one I would have chosen. While I had plucked up about four or five flowing boho maxis, this girl chose a dress with glitz and glam. One that represented her style, not mine.
She slipped into that gown and strutted around the house, waiting for the time to head out. The energy radiating from her little being was enough to fill the room, the entire house, with anticipation. Her excitement made my own hands tingle.
I asked her if I could take a few pictures and she immediately climbed up onto the nearest table and struck a pose. She was radiant. The light from within her shined, not because of the dress, the hair, or the makeup, it shined from a place we all too often forget. She shined from her Wild.
Then he came down the steps.
That man of ours had gotten his hair and beard trimmed. Pressed his collar. Shined his shoes. And even though he was tired as hell from his work week, he reined in his energy to give every last ounce to her special night.
He nodded toward her. “You look beautiful.”
She smiled. “I know!” (Yeah, girl!)
After sliding her corsage onto her wrist and taking a few (hundred) pics for mom, they headed out to the car.
When they arrived, he opened the door for her.
He got her a drink.
He posed for a picture.
He held her accessories when she flung them at him.
He stood patiently on the sidelines when she ditched him for most of the night to dance with her friends.
And when it was all over, he took her home.
He’s the first to do this, but what they may not realize is that he’s setting the bar for all dates to come. While Daddy Daughter Dances are wonderful bonding moments, they are also teaching moments. A chance to show your little girl the way she should be treated when the time comes for her real first date. I hope that between now and then he can impart a few of these crucial lessons about dating:
When her date says she looks beautiful, I hope that she realizes it’s more than the words. It’s where they come from. Anyone can tell her she’s beautiful, but few will say it in a way that touches below the surface.
Her dress may be Everything, but it doesn’t mean Anything. It’s a display of her style and in no way an implication or invitation.
He may open doors, buy her a drink, lead her on the dance floor, and take her home. But I hope she always knows that she doesn’t have to enter each door opened for her if she’s not comfortable. That she can refuse a drink if she’s not thirsty for it. That she can dance on her own just as well as she dances with him. And that going home alone, doesn’t make you lonely.
We may be a few years away from her real first date, but I know all I have to do is blink, and that day will be here. I just pray she finds someone as worthy as the man who took her to her first dance. One who cares about her more than himself. One that will proudly walk her through the door, but be humble enough to allow her to shine with or without him at her side.
A man that adores her, Respects her, and sees her, Wild and all.