Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What was I thinking?

More and more posts seem to be having this same title. Hmmmm.

Anywho, on with the post...

I think the Daddy/Daughter relationship is very, very, very important. But sometimes I tend to go overboard.

I have lots of preconceived notions about what dads and daughters with good relationships are like. And low and behold, I recently got a thing in the mail that seemed to fit those preconceived notions PERFECTLY! The local Girl Scouts were hosting a Daddy-Daughter Dance and my little heartstrings got to stirring. "Wouldn't that be soooo special?" "Wouldn't that be what CLOSE daddies and daughters do?"

So I nonchalantly brought the pretty purple paper to my husband's attention. And without trying to show the anxiousness in my voice I said, "Is this something you would be interested in?"

He glanced at it and said, "Sure."

I did a double take. I have the best husband in the world, but he isn't known for his love of dancing. In fact Dan never attended a single high school dance, and he danced the minimum required dances at our wedding (but to his credit, that might be because his mind was on the hotel room--if you know what I mean).

His agreeing to this was a big deal to me.

So as the days got closer, I could barely restrain myself from telling the girls. However, my eight years of Mommyhood have schooled me in avoiding the "How many days until Christmas" syndrome, so I knew to keep my mouth shut until the dance was close. Very, very close.

Finally I broke the news and the three little ladies were super excited. They began talking about dresses and hairdos. And when Dan came home from work that night, our four-year-old met him at the door. "Daddy could you put on your church clothes and come downstairs so we can practice our dance moves?"

The big night arrived and the girls were all ready. I was excited to spend a night grocery shopping with our little son who is still too young to beg to peruse the Barbie Aisle or to push the cart. The girls and Dan headed off in the White Horse of a Suburban. Dan told me later that half way down the hill they started fighting over who would get to dance with him first. The six-year-old quietly told the four-year-old "You probably don't want to go first because I don't think Dad knows any moves."

(Looking back, I'm thinking they may have thought the entire night was supposed to be choreographed.)

I headed out Walmart and had scarcely reached the parking lot when I got the first text: "They are so shy and sad. Lily is crying."

What??!! But they were excited!

Several more texts offered the same bleak outlook of three girls glued to their daddy's legs with tears streaming down their faces--and not in a sweet dance move way.

You see... Our three daughters picked my gender (being a girl) and every other trait they inherited came from Daddy. The biggest one is their shyness. Despite having dance moves planned, dresses donned, and hairdos that took several hours, when they hit the door to that gymnasium, they lost their nerve.

And it hit me. I should have known this. I should have seen it coming. But my preconceived notions of what they SHOULD be like totally outweighed my knowledge of who they really are. My husband and daughters are quiet around new situations and new people. They don't like attention in a crowd. They would rather be sideliners. At home or with family and friends they are completely different. But new situations are tough.

But you know what? Dan and the girls have a pretty great relationship despite this.

Dan has never missed their performances at school/church/sports. He is a good example to them. He loves to joke around and tease with them.

All three of the girls have gone on a one-on-one parent date EVERY SINGLE MONTH since they turned two years old. And 95 percent of the time, they pick Dad. They have gone boating. They have camped out in the back yard. They have built dog houses. They have made cakes. They have gone mini golfing. And doughnut eating. And they love nothing more than to curl up on the couch and watch a movie and eat candy with their dad. Now doesn't that sound about as perfect as it can get?

Well, needless to say, the four of them stuck out the dance for about an hour. And now that I think about it, I think that is just great!

When have your preconceived notions been proven wrong? Any tips on encouraging Daddy-Daughter relationships without going overboard?


Emily R. King said...

This is so sweet, it tugs at my heart strings. Your husband is an incredible father! It's wonderful that he was willing to do this for his girls, and that your girls gave it a shot despite their shyness. I bet they would have been even worse off had their daddy not been there. It's these experiences that help us grow together as a family.

Jolene Perry said...

That is so awesome.
My daughter is a TOTAL daddy's girl, and chooses him over me almost every time.

I LOVE that.

Kasey @ Mormon Mommy Writers said...

My husband is the sports loving jock, and our son (our oldest) turned out to be much more of a bookworm (like me) and builder. He's much more cautious, like me, and it's been difficult for his dad to connect with him in a lot of ways. Fortunately, t-ball season is coming up and I asked my son if he thought he might want to play. He has played catch with his dad and he really enjoys it. He told me he'd think about it and pray about it, and he decided he wants to try it. My husband is nearly busting his buttons he's so excited.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will be a good experience for both of them. I know my husband will want to make sure our son is prepared, so he will spend a lot of time with him, which makes me happy. We'll see if the little guy enjoys it as much as his dad hopes he will!

My girls are the exact opposite of me, by the way. They are both outgoing and fearless (like their dad!) which I'm thrilled about, but at least they're girly, so we can paint our nails together. ;-) It's amazing how having a family can help you learn to love in ways you wouldn't know otherwise!

Jessica R. Patch said...

I love that story and it always warms my heart to see daddies loving on their girls.

I am blessed to have a husband who has always felt strongly about showing, by example, how a man should treat a woman. He buys her flowers, Valentines, and takes her on dates.

Did you see the movie Courageous? It was so good and I loved the father/daughter relationship between a particular character. It's a must see movie!

Also, you've spiced up your site. I love the big colorful circles! :)

Angela Cothran said...

This is so sweet! I love this story! My daughter adores my husband. She thinks someday she can marry him :)

Jessie Humphries said...

I haven't given this subject much thought actually. I think I went out on one daddy daughter date my whole life. My dad wasnt into that kind of thing. I think my husband is naturally good at that though. He takes them out individually all the time.

Leigh Covington said...

Awww- this is darling and heart warming. Personally, I think you guys have it all figured out. Sounds like you're doing great :)

Katie Dodge said...

I love this! My hubby takes my girls on dates too. So sweet! PS- I have three girls and one is Lily too. :)