This past weekend Maddie had her first date.
I know, I know, she's far too young to date, but I really trust this guy. After all, he's her dad.
For years I have seen various pictures on Facebook of fathers and their daughters at Daddy Daughter Dances and I knew at some point the day would come when Maddie would have the chance to go to one herself. They hold one at the gym we belong to every year, but Tom wasn't a member until this year. When Maddie caught wind of the dance this year, her eyes immediately lit up and asked if she could go. I told her she had to ask her father and before we could even get in the door and take our coats off, she was running toTom to ask him out on this very important date.
I knew he would be a little apprehensive about going since he wouldn't know anyone there, but I also have seen this man don a princess crown, boa and drink tea out of pink teacups with his pinky raised in the name of his daughter. As he put it, how could he say "no."
He said yes to the very important invitation only a day before the event and he had to get the tickets the next day while he was at they gym working out. He kind of made me laugh at how nervous he was. He asked how he would know where to purchase the tickets and I told him just to go to the Activity Center desk. He looked puzzled and asked how he would ever find it? I informed him that not only is it not located in a secret underground tunnel at they gym, there is also a giant sign over the desk that he passes every day on his way to the locker room.
He was also concerned about the fact that he had to buy a corsage for our little princess and absolutely would not let me do it for him. I was so impressed with how seriously he was taking his responsibility as our daughter's first date. See, I knew he was a catch.
He was pleasantly surprised when he found out that you could purchase a corsage through the gym when you paid for registration and saved him the stress of having to go seek out someone at the grocery store to help him out.
We got the two of them dressed, Maddie's hair curled and she put on her favorite necklace and bracelet. Before I knew it they were on their way and I didn't even have a chance to snap a single picture. I stood there at the door as Tom's truck pulled away and was overcome with emotions.
My first thought was how fast she is growing up. Before I know it, she will be going on dates with boys whom I absolutely do not know or trust, and I will be terrified. I think back to the times my mom put me through a rigorous line of questioning regarding who I was going out with and will never forget her dismay at one who wouldn't even come to the door when he picked me up. Boy, was she right about that guy.
Then I began to think of the Daddy Daughter dances I attended as a little girl and was mixed with joy and sadness. I was joyful that my daughter had the opportunity to do things like this with her daddy and that he embraced it with absolute care and tenderness. I never went to a Daddy Daughter dance with my own father because when he was a part of my life I'm pretty sure he either wasn't around, wasn't interested or I would have been too embarrassed to even bring him to such an event. Eventually, I did go to a few Daddy Daughter dances with my oldest brother John.
He was a GREAT date if I had to have a "fill-in dad." I remember so vividly my grandparents teaching us some of the "old-time dances," like the jitter-bug, to prepare us for the sock-hop. It was an "oldies" theme dance so we couldn't just get away with the standard step-touch clap to get by. We were versed on the twist, Fox Trot and my grandpa even showed us his soft-shoe routine. Luckily, my brother could definitely hold his own in the dancing department and not only broke out what we had learned in our crash-course, but even did his own air guitar routine a la Eddie Van Halen. I went from feeling like the only girl there without a "real dad" to the luckiest girl there.
I am forever grateful for all the stand-in dads I had over the years because they went above and beyond to make up for where my dad fell short. However, it brings me absolute joy in my heart that I have chosen a man who can give my lovely daughter all the things I never had in a father.
I think that is what being a parent is all about. We want what is best for our children and sometimes that means emulating all the important things our parents taught us, and other times it means taking the parts that might not have been so great and use it as motivation to be better.
Once I shed a few tears, I went and spent some time with my son. I asked what he wanted to do while they were gone and he said, "Play Xbox." We compromised and wrote in his "Dude Diary," which was an absolute riot. It asks all these silly questions and in the end his answers all centered around banana, gorillas, bacon and eliminating all girls, especially his sister. Within a few hours Tom and Maddie were back home with stories to tell and smiles on their faces. Luckily they did get their picture taken so I could cherish the night, but more importantly so Maddie could.