The YMCA Adventure Guides Father-Daughter Sweetheart Ball was not on my radar until a good friend of mine told me how he takes his daughters each year. I thought, "Cool! You and your girls are really excited about this thing, huh?" When my wife started getting emails about the event, there was no controlling her excitement. She was even talking about renting a car for the night!
In case you didn't know (like me), a dadddy-daughter dance allows dad an opportunity to set an example and standard for how his daughter should be treated on a date. It is also an opportunity for dad to build that special bond with his daughter and make special memories.
Okay, based on the description above, I tossed the whole daddy-daughter dance thing out the window because my daughter and dating don't even go together in a sentence. And I can build that special bond with my daughter at the creek - FISHING!
But I thought about the whole thing (I do a lot of thinking) and with my "try-almost-anything-once" attitude, I went all in.
That's right! I went to my first daddy-daughter dance AND I LOVED IT!
Dressing up is a major part of making memories, for both dads and daughters, who get to wear their "special" clothes for a "special" night. Like I said, I went "all in" and brought the tuxedo out and even gave myself a fresh haircut. My daughter picked her dress for the night and kept it a secret from me. I didn't see what she chose to wear until a few minutes before we stepped out the door. She was beautiful.
Making a big fuss about things is another major part of making memories for the night. Remember what wrote about my wife wanting to rent us a car for the night? Yeah... Well, that's what I mean about making a big fuss about things. My wife repeatedly reminded me of how much she thought this was so much like a prom. Each time she reminded me, I grumbled and groaned - internally. I learned a long time ago (when my wife was pregnant) to stop replying with, "What's all the fuss about?" Even though I don't see the reason for making stuff like this a big deal, I know how to go with the flow and enjoy the show. So, when mom went out and bought a corsage for me to put on my daughter's arm, I was all smiles and ready to put it on. This night was a big deal and I made a big fuss about my daughter.
I pause here to point out something I didn't expect that I caution dads with daughters to watch out for. See, I'm a thinker. (Women say I'm quiet. Men just leave me alone.) When my wife brought up the prom thing, I got stuck in "fast-forward mode." It was like one of those sci-fi movies in which I walked into the future and got trapped there. My daughter is seven, but I fast-forwarded to seven-teen. Then, I fast-forwarded to twenty-seven. It was kinda like the movie "Click" with Adam Sandler. Anyway, my emotions got stuck in the future. Just a heavy and deep feeling of loss that stuck with me for a couple of days leading up to this event. It wasn't until I explained what was happening with me to my wife that I was able to "snap back" so to speak. So, I caution dads not to fast-forward. That time will be here soon enough. Drink today like it's the last drop of the best drink you've ever had.
Okay, I'm back.
Having fun is the biggest part about making memories. After we got to the daddy-daughter dance venue, it was all about having fun. We danced, we laughed, we took pictures, we ate, and we had fun in all of it. I'm a serious guy but I made it a point to have fun on purpose in everything I did that night. My daughter had no problem having fun. Her friends were there and she made a bunch of new friends on the dance floor. Sure, they do a lot of running around in little groups and screaming at the top of their lungs, but the little ladies know how to have fun - no matter how they're dressed.
We danced the chicken dance, hokey pokey, "oppan gangnam style", macarena and a whole bunch of other dances. And when the DJ played the sappy music, I reminded myself not to "fast-forward" and I stayed in the moment with my beautiful daughter on our special night.