Monday, February 10, 2014

Daddy-Daughter Dance Forces Me to Practice What I Preach!

Ok, so two things about me are important for this week's post: First and foremost, I'm a dad to four Fantastic kids! Secondly, I'm always preaching to you guys about the importance of being aware of your self-talk and the impact that has on your feelings. Well...we all slip up sometimes, and I had a bit of a slip-up this weekend at my daughter's Daddy-daughter dance. I must admit, I, like many parents, tend to think of my kids as the tiny little babies that we first brought home. Ok, sure, it gets a bit strange for them when I still try to pick them up and carry them "cradle-the-baby-style", especially my oldest, who has 3-4 inches on me in height! But come on! Can you really blame me? Most of the things a couple decides to bring home stay pretty much the same size over the years! (Consider all the discussion that goes into selecting just the right French-door refrigerator!). But kids keep insisting on growing!  Here they are just this past Summer:

Super cute, right? (I'm not really asking, I was presuming your thought so ;)  Notice how young and sweet they look. Pay particular attention to my one and only daughter, Sabrina. She's 10-years-old in this shot and just as sweet as can be!

   Now, while they are all seriously great young people with really admirable characters, we're going to focus on Sabrina for this post. (Here she is at 10 again:
She's my little girl. My only little girl. Oh yes! That means something! And while I recognize the importance and value of gender equality, I also recognize that I think of my daughter a bit differently. It's funny to me when people say that for parents, girls are so much easier to raise than boys! Uuummm, ok. I'm not feeling ya. Think of all the real additional challenges that she will have to face simply by virtue of her gender.  Ever since the drive home with Sabrina from the hospital, things were different. For starters, I almost ripped the stereo out of the dashboard as it finally hit home for me how pop music talks about girls/women! (You wanna do WHAT to my little girl!!?!!)  A serious sense of responsibility to shelter and protect her slammed down on me with a vengeance!  And therein lies a delimma.  While I want to protect and shelter her; while I want to give her everything she wants, I also want her to be prepared for this world that she'll be a part of. I want her to grow into the kind of woman that she can be proud of.  I want her to grow up strong, independent, self sufficient, and with an indelible sense of her own value! I want her to know that her character, intellect, drive, and heart are her finest qualities and that they are hers alone! I also want her to know that she will never need to derive her sense of value from someone else! In short, I want her to grow up to be like her mother.  

So how do I raise a strong young woman while inside all I want to do is pamper her? I'll tell you. It's by purposefully and deliberately checking myself. By making sure that I'm not committing all of the thinking errors that I've been discussing in this blog.  So what happened this weekend? How did the "slip-up" occur? It was all because of the gosh-darn song by Bob Carlisle, Butterfly Kisses!! That song had never bothered me before. NEVER! 

So here's what happened. Sabrina and I attended her Daddy-Daughter Dance on Saturday night. I was floored from the start by how beautiful and grown-up my 11-year-old little girl looked! (You can see for yourself...

Yep, she almost as tall as I am!

Things go incredibly well at the dance. We went out to dinner first and I was so proud of how she carries herself! We went with another Daddy-daughter couple who we like a lot! So the whole evening was pretty rockin! Then they announce the last dance. It's that darned song! It started out fine. Sabrina is an excellent dancer! Then I start listening to the lyrics. I'm picturing my little girl. And, in my mind, she's this tiny little thing, and that's when it hits me. I realize that as we dance, she's resting her head on my shoulder, just like when she was a baby, only now, she doing it while standing on the floor! The irrational self-statements go absolutely BALLISTIC then! I'm basically telling myself that she's already out of the house and in a career, maybe with a family of her own! I feel like I'm having a panic attack! Sabrina looks up into my eyes and says, "Daddy, are you crying?"  "I'm okay, Sweetie" I tell her. But then she begins to cry, too!  

Eventually, and thankfully, the blasted song ends and Sabrina gives me a great big hug and tells me she'll always be my little girl. And though I know she'll grow up into an amazing woman, I believe her. 


  1. Wonderful point of view! My daughter talked all day yesterday about how great it was to dance with you.

  2. Yep and I'm crying too now. Always great to start off the day with a great love story. Thanks!

  3. That is the song I danced with my Dad to at my wedding! It always makes me cry. I can't believe how grown up your kids are!!