"We don't recognize our most significant moments while they're happening." -- Burt Lancaster as Archibald "Moonlight" Graham in Field of Dreams.
Saturday my oldest daughter asked me if I would take her the "Daddy-Daughter Dance" in town. Her best friend was going as she had the previous few years, so of course, she had to go. I could never turn that down. Before long, it was daddy and his daughters as my youngest came along too. After promising not to embarrass her on the way there, Leah led the charge into the building to find her friends. I began to think I wasn't going to get anything out of this. I was wrong.
Before long came a slow song by the Jonas Brothers and my 5-year old decided she wanted a slow dance with Dad. It was really the first time, outside of goofing around, we'd actually danced together slowly. I was going through the motions and then it happened-- she looked up at me. It was a look that made me feel like she wanted to be nowhere else on Earth than right here dancing with her Dad. My heart skipped a beat and I could feel my eyes welling up a little. I looked around at the other dads to see if anyone else was "having a moment." Nope, just me. I was able to gather myself and finish out the dance.
Later, the 8-year old decided she wanted a turn. This was much easier since she's taller and she had some fun by standing on my feet. I was a little relieved because she was keeping things pretty loose and fun. And then it happened-- she looked up at me. Her eyes were twice as piercing as A.J.'s and it took everything for me to not scoop her up right there and give her big endless hug. But since that would fall into the "embarrassing" category, I decided against it.
We went on to have a great night, especially after discovering a little dance move where I swing A.J. through my legs and back through and up into the air before she lands on her feet. It became all the rage. They were worried about dad being embarrassing and instead I was a trend-setter. Ha! I'm sure I'll still get the lecture the next time we go somewhere.
We collected our pictures and headed home with a stop at the Wheel for a shake with her friends and their dads. While there, I asked Ross (father of Leah's best friend) how many of these he'd gone to. He was at number four. I wondered if he'd gotten choked up at all at the first one. He just kind of gave me a sheepish smile. Whaddya know, all dads are just a bunch of softies.