Daddy-Daughter Dance #3...
For the third year in a row, I got to go dancing with one of my daughters...this time it was Aly. She's in second grade now and that gives her an important right of passage that she's been waiting for before the foundations of the earth in many ways.
It's the annual "Daddy/Daughter Dance" at Cherry Creek Elementary for the 2nd and 3rd graders and it just so happens that my daughters were born 2 years apart. That translates into 6 straight years of these festive balls. I couldn't be happier about this 6 year tradition.
Aly looked dashing. He little blue eyes that she got from her mother were sparkling like the blue reflected off a summer lake rippling with the stirring of a gentle breeze. One time I actually asked her to look at me so that I could take in her gorgeous eyes. I told her I want to peer into her precious soul. She looked into my eyes and tilted her head in bashful embarrassment. I wouldn't stop gazing...I know these nights only come a few times in one's lifetime...I wasn't about to let awkwardness rob me of this moment. After she smiled with her little front tooth dangling by the thin skin of her gums (it needs to come out, but she won't let me rip in out with some dental floss...go figure!), she buried her head into the bend where my shoulder meets my neck. Her head still fits in that curve perfectly.
Her mother dolled her up like a little princess. Her hair was twisted and pulled back to a sideways pony tail in the back. But the pony tail was curled and teased out with hair spray...she was really a little woman.
She had glossy lip stick that she would put on throughout the night in order to keep this shiny glaze on her cute little lips. While I was driving, she would pull down the visor and use the mirror to apply what can only be described as something akin to the same substance used to coat crispy creams. It makes you want to eat her lips it's so succulent-looking. She would purse her little lips just like her mother spreading it around by pressing her lips together and moving them back and forth, and in and out. Little woman.
We went to Ruby Tuesdays and she got a Coke (something she doesn't ever drink) and some Mac-n-Cheese (something she always eats). We played hangman and tick-tac-toe on a napkin, laughing and giving each other high-fives. We shared mild chicken wings and she kept coughing because of the spicy hot sauce. We held hands a lot throughout the night. She loves to hold hands. (the interdigitated kind of hand-holding)
We left there and headed to Barnes and Noble to read books together. Everywhere we went I would open the door for her. Every time I did, she would sheepishly say "thank you, daddy". She was trying to get used being the sole focus of my attention and affection. It didn't take her long. She was born to be the apple of my eye.
We got to the dance and got our picture taken together. She hopped up on my lap and we pressed our faces together as the photographer's flash blinded us. And with that we were on the dance floor cutting the rug.
It took her about 5 minutes to relax into the idea of being around a bunch of other humans living out a freedom that is rarely seen in the ruff and tumble of everyday life. As she got a sense that everyone was o.k. with letting their hair down and letting loose, she started to let loose. I love watching her when she's free from her preoccupation with other people's thoughts toward her. She glows like a girl should, like a girl was made to.
As the night drew to a close, Bryan Adams started singing the song, "Everything I do, I do for you." I grabbed her, picked her up and started swaying back and forth. I whispered into her ear, "I've had an awesome time with you. I love you so much." She pulled her head off my shoulder and I could tell she wanted to cry. She looked at me and said with a quivering voice, "Dad, when we have good nights like this together, it makes me want to be with you forever." I knew what she was saying. You see, if Kami said that it would have meant something a little different. She would have been thinking about that night and staying up late together...almost like, "I wish this night could go on forever or I wish this night would never end." That's not what Aly was saying, because she's Aly.
She was thinking about the day that she would leave our house and maybe get married. She was thinking about way into the future and the reality of growing up and moving out. She was dreading the idea of not living with me and staying with me for the rest of her life. That's how Aly's little mind thinks in a moment like that...this is why she lives with so much fear and concern and insecurity...she thinks about past, present and future with such vivid clarity.
As she shared her mourning of the day when we wouldn't be together anymore, she started to cry really hard and, again, buried her head into my neck sobbing with sorrow. I rubbed her back and said, "I will always be with you. I will never leave you. You will always be my daughter no matter where you go or what you do. O.K.?" She looked up with tears dripping down her face and nodded her head. She squeezed herself into me and we finished the dance just hugging each other while I swayed to the rhythm of the 80's classic.
We left the dance and went to Flat River Grill for dessert. She didn't know we were doing that. It was already an hour past her normal bedtime and she knew it, so she couldn't fathom that the night was still young. She smiled with the biggest grin you could imagine and we held hands all the way to the restaurant. Her friends were there and they all sat at a table and got ice cream. Their fathers and I got some coffee and talked about the West. It was a great night.
We got home and I tucked her in bed and whispered into her ear, "This is my most favorite night I've ever spent with you." She gave me a hug and said, "Thank you, daddy." With that I went downstairs and crashed on the couch.
Three dances down...three to go.