Tonight is a first for our family.
Jeff is taking Teagan to a father daughter dance. In the past, we've always found out about these possibilities after the event. This year, we got the information on time and signed up.
I'm very excited. And I won't even be there!
As a kid, I didn't have a dad. This isn't some sad story about all the little girls going to the father-daughter dance and I was left out. I don't recall ever even hearing of such a thing. But the fact is that I didn't have a dad so if there had been a father-daughter dance, I wouldn't have participated. Or I would have gone with one of my mom's friends.
I remember wanting a dad so badly. I remember asking one of my mom's dental school friends if I could just call him dad. He was funny and warm and everything I imagined a dad would be like.
So to send my little girl and my husband off to an event that celebrates the special relationship between a little girl and her daddy warms my heart and kind of pierces it a little, too.
It makes me realize how important having a dad really is. Yes, we can all survive and thrive in single parent home. I'm not knocking single parents or growing up in a single parent home.
But I do want to pause and celebrate what it means for a little girl to have her dad... and I hope these are things that Jeff and Teagan can celebrate because they have each other instead of realizing the value of their relationship because it doesn't exist.
A girl's relationship with her dad is the first opportunity for her to feel how a man should love. Dads teach their daughters that men can be soft, gentle, and vulnerable. Little girls bring that out in their fathers. Which means that dads are learning from their daughters how it feels to be soft, gentle, and vulnerable.
A girl's relationship with her dad teaches her about feeling safe and protected. Little girls should feel that their dad would and will do anything to keep them safe from harm, will face any danger, will always come to their aid. And dads learn what it means to be a superhero, to be brave, and to have courage in the eyes of another.
A girl's relationship with her teaches her about trust. A dad's word should be gold - whether it's about following through on consequences or about keeping promises to go get ice cream. Men learn from their daughters that their words and actions form a relationship.
A girl's relationship with her dad teaches her that she is lovable, valuable, beautiful, honored. Dads learn how to show their little girl that she is lovable, valuable, beautiful, and honored.
A girl's relationship with her dad should become her standard for future relationships. She should learn from how he treats her, how he loves her, how he loves his spouse, how he values his family... and she should be seeking that in her own relationships.
Because I didn't have a dad, I think I'm more sensitive to the relationship between my husband and my daughter. I catch the moments when she looks at him with admiration and love. I catch the times that he takes a moment to kiss her forehead while she sleeps. I'm more aware of the times he goes out of his way to take her forgotten lunch to school or missing out on his own schedule so he can see her cheer performance or he arranges his schedule to pick her up early.
Tonight might be just a dance... but it feels like so much more.