The dance had a princess theme and my 5-year-old daughter got dressed up in her prettiest princess gown for a night out with her daddy.
Now, my daughter is a bit shy and typically will tell her mother, “Tell Daddy not to be too proud of me.”
I believe that when she comes out all dressed up and I make a big deal about how beautiful she is, it embarrasses her. So, I’ve tried to tone it down ... a little bit. But my daddy-daughter dates are some of my favorite evenings out, something I look forward to all week, so it can be difficult for me to contain my excitement.
We arrived at the dance and my daughter’s shy nature started to come out again. She was nervous and wanted to stay close to her daddy, which I didn’t mind at all. I told her we’d just go in and get a plate of food and find a cozy place to sit. But much to her surprise, when we walked into the dance she saw three real-life princesses. Her eyes grew wide and she looked up at me saying, “Daddy, they are princesses!”
Initially, this made her more nervous. I mean, she was in the presence of royalty. But her fascination got the better of her and she wanted to go say hello and get her picture taken with each of them.
After a brief visit, we went and sat down. My daughter couldn’t take her eyes off the princesses. I asked her to dance, but she said she was still feeling “shy.” However, a few moments later one of the princesses came over and extended her hand to my daughter and asked her to dance. My daughter, in total awe, just nodded yes, took her hand and went to the dance floor to dance. It was an incredible gesture of kindness on behalf of this young woman and nearly brought tears to my eyes (that wouldn’t be the first time that night that happened).
When she came back to the table, I asked her if she had fun. She just glowed. I wanted my turn on the dance floor and since the ice was broken, I figured it would be a good time to ask. Her response was simple: “Yes Daddy, I’ll dance with you. But you know that princesses are better dancers than daddies.”
Yes, yes they are.
I got my slow dance, just carrying my baby girl around the dance floor.
Suddenly an old classic, “YMCA,” came on and we started to boogie. Now I’ll tell you, I am normally with my wife when I am around a dance floor and she serves as an outstanding “brake pedal.” What I mean by that is she has the ability to give me a knowing glance and a shake of her head that says, “No, don’t do that. You look silly.”
Fortunately for me, my wife wasn’t present and I broke out all my moves. There was the “Running Man,” then I transitioned to the “Moon Walk,” followed by the “Sprinkler,” and closed with a little “Saturday Night Fever.” After which I looked down at my beautiful little princess who now had a look on her face that she clearly inherited from her mother that said, “Oh please, do not do that anymore!”
The night closed with a slow dance to a sappy country song about butterfly kisses, which I promptly taught to my daughter.
She simply said, “You know the words to this song?”
“Yes, I do.”
“I like when you sing to me, Daddy.”
“I like dancing with you, baby girl.”
“Daddy, this is the best date ever.”
She says that after every daddy-daughter date ... and she is always right.
(Editor’s Note: Matt has a beautiful family — his wife, son, two daughters, Tucker the family dog, and seven chickens. Matt’s “Father Time” column appears in alternating Wednesday editions of the Cleveland Daily Banner.)