Monday, February 18, 2013

Pink Fairy Wands & Kisses

"Will you take me to the daddy daughter dance?  Please?" She wrote.
"I would be honored.  It would be a privilege and a great joy for me to accompany you to the dance.  
May I have the honor?" I replied.
"Well yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" came the message.
"Although I do have one tiny condition..." I said.
"Only if you promise to dance on my feet." I was hoping we weren't too old for that just yet.
"That is a deal.  But I have a condition too." she said.
"What?" I typed.
"We have to dance both ways."  
"Deal.  But do I have to wear a suit? I left the only suit I own in Haiti."
There was a pause in our little chat.  I thought, uh-oh, she's gonna make me go rent a tux...
"........A swimming suit?"  
"No, a dress up suit." I laughed.
"Just dress up like ya would for church."  She said.
Ahhh....that's my girl.

Some things that I hope I never forget....
She wanted her hair down, not all up like a princess...
"I just want it to be the real me."
When we drove to the store to pick out her dress and she came out of the dressing room, her face was glowing as she twirled and danced in between the racks of clothes. 
The dress was supposed to be a surprise, but she just couldn't wait and put it on for me one day ahead.
She didn't want to take it off.   I think she would have spent the whole day dreaming about what was to come.
Driving to the restaurant, there were no free spaces, so we had to walk for 3 blocks.  It was bitter cold.  
"I'm so sorry honey.  I know it's cold." I said.
"It's didn't know that wearing tights is really like not wearing anything at all."
I told the host I didn't have a reservation.  He took one look at my little girl and her hope-filled eyes, and said, "That's ok.  It's not going to be a problem tonight."  (It was a Friday night, at the nicest restaurant in town."  He gave us one of the best tables in the house, and when the waitress fired him a look for giving up her primo spot to a Dad and his kid,  His look was, "Deal with it."
They treated her like royalty the rest of the night.
"And what to drink for the lady?"  They asked, with the utmost respect.
My nine year-old looked over the menu and with all the poise in the world, she said, 
"Would you happen to have any....ahem....chocolate milk?"
The sky was the limit.  Best place in town, anything she wanted...
My Peanut ordered chicken strips and apple sauce. 
We shared 1 heavenly dish of burnt custard.  I stopped eating at the half way mark.  She insisted I take another bite. 
Rather than let her freeze on the walk back to car I asked the host to please watch over her while I fetched her ride.
I ran three blocks and had to drive around 3 city blocks because of the One-Ways.  When I pulled up to the door she came running out and said, "I was about to run down the street to look for you."
We got to the dance 20 minutes early,  but she couldn't wait. 
"I think the doors are open!  Let's go in now Daddy!  We'll have more time to dance."
She danced the night away with me.   We opened up the place, and we stayed until they shut it down.
She twirled.  She whirled.  I dipper her, spun her, swung her, and Jitterbugged with her.  We Pretzeled half a dozen times.
She kicked off her pretty high heels that she'd practiced walking in the day before.  It was time to just be Abby Gene.
She stepped up on my feet for at least 5 songs.
We won the competition to transfer a Hershey's kiss with only spoons in our mouth.    Her prize was a pink fairy wand.
She preferred more Hershey Kisses.  
I secretly filled her coat pockets with more.
The songs were not appropriate, although all of the Dad's reveled in the nostalgia of Greased Lightning and those Hot Summer Nights.
But then the last song of the night began to play, my old friend Chris LeDoux, and an old cowboy favorite that I loved as a boy, When I Look at You Girl.
She asked me to hold her.  I carried her in my arms for the entire song, and I sang every word into her little ear while she rested her head on my shoulder.
It was a perfect ending to a perfect night.
I don't get much right in this old world.  There are days I just don't understand.  A few I wish I could take back. 
But not this one.  And not this little girl.  And not my love for her.  That makes perfect sense to me and always will, because it's as simple and natural as breathing. Nothing from now until the end of time will ever change how much I love you, Miss Abby Gene.
I thank God for allowing me the honor of being your first date.
And I pray for any boy that ever dares to entertain the thought of stealing your heart away. 
Love, Dad.

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