Yesterday was the Daddy Daughter Dance at our church. For the last 20 years or so, this dance has been the highlight of my husband's and my daughters' years.
Every year, since my eldest was 3 years old, this dance meant a new dress, special hair, a fancy dinner out, a beautiful corsage presented by daddy, and so much more. But even though they love to dance the night away, this Daddy Daughter Dance has never really been about dancing. This dance is still and has always been about the special bond my husband has with our girls. Early on, I remember my husband and daughter choosing to go out to dinner just the two of them, instead of with groups of girls and dads that were forming; they wanted the time to themselves. And over the years, this dance, this precious event, became sacred to them. Even when covid canceled the dance for two years, dad and daughter had a special dinner and danced in our living room.
Over the years, the dance preparations have varied slightly. For years, it was just my eldest daughter and my husband. Then for many years (until my eldest graduated from high school!), it was both girls and daddy. And now for the past several years, it is just my youngest and daddy. My amazon photos of the dance number over 300(!), and each one brings a smile to my face as I remember those little girls and see their faces gazing up at their daddy and their dad, in turn, looking upon them with love. Such gift. Such grace.
I've heard the sentiment before that "a daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she judges all men". During all the years of attending this dance together, my girls have seen their father treasure them. They have learned from his example, his words, the way he treats me and others what it means to be a man, and how a man should treat a woman. A girl loves her father like she loves no one other -- she looks up to him with an adoration she has for no one else. A father can shape how a girl sees herself and is taught by him she is worthy of being treasured someday by her husband.
This year, the pictures I took of my daughter and husband were at church instead of in our living room. After I took their pictures, I walked out of the building as they walked into the gym toward the dance. As I walked out, I saw so many girls I know (some from my class who have been talking about the dance all week!) and their dads, all dressed up, holding hands, so excited. As I got in the car to go have dinner with my son (another tradition we've made over the years), my eyes filled up. My tears were happy tears - for all these precious girls and their adoring daddies, and for my own girls and husband. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I prayed for all of them and thanked God for the gift they are to each other. And ultimately, I am thankful for all of these earthly fathers who point their daughters to their heavenly Father.
At our church, the committee that hosts our Daddy Daughter Dance goes all out. The decor, the food -- the whole experience is unbelievable. These men and women spend hours transforming the gym into a wonderland. The girls' faces light up when they walk into whatever theme has taken over that year - they are so excited for the evening. I am forever indebted to the servants who make this dance happen, year after year. They, too, have always understood that it's so much more than a dance.