Each year in early February, a tradition unfolds in our family - the annual father-daughter dance. Held at a local church, the dance has been a sellout for two decades. Away my husband goes with the girls. I get a night alone for some guilty pleasure - usually some chick flick I'd never even admit to watching.
For the first few years, my older daughter accompanied my husband to an auditorium festooned with pink and red heart-shaped balloons, with tables covered in Hershey's kisses, Sweet-Tarts and other treats destined to be outlawed by the Nutrition Police. Larry would always suit up. Some years, he'd take Olivia to dinner, then the dance and afterwards for an ice cream soda. In the course of one evening, she'd consume enough sugar to power a Peterbilt across several western states. But it was worth it. She'd come home gushing with stories of other kids' outfits, snippets of gossip and bursting with pride of how her daddy was the biggest and the handsomest and the best dressed etc, etc.
The dance promoters would do a great job with the music — a father DJ spinning tunes — and his teenage daughter (now out of college) leading the crowd in choruses of YMCA, the Chicken Dance and all the standards of silliness.
By the time our younger girl was 4, she demanded to attend as well. What a fun trio they made, heading out the door en route to a sugar coma orchestrated by the Best of The Village People. By then, the girls were in serious competition for their father's attention. His solution was simple. For many dances, he'd hoist one in each arm and waltz them both around. A few years ago that ended, as their combined weight now tops 180 lbs. Even some NFL elephant might have a difficulty with that stunt for more than a song or two.
Some years back, some mothers complained about there not being a mother-son dance. What these women failed to understand is that a mother-son dance would never, ever in a trillion eons, sell. The promoters - always eager for a fresh revenue stream, had tried it — it failed miserably. Most girls are simply born with the glamour and romance gene. You hear them jabbering — as young as pre-school — about the little boys on which they have unrequited crushes. And the boys could not possibly care less. Females - even little ones - also have a natural dance aptitude. They love to move, they love to dress up but most of all they love daddy. Some Freudian types claim it's some sort of early rehearsal for dating. Maybe so. It matters not.
Some day - one I dare not even contemplate - they'll have real dates with real boyfriends that Saturday night in February. I'm saving now for some outrageous gift for my husband to distract him on that evening. But no matter how extravagant - he'll be inconsolable. Of that I am certain.