She had been waiting for this day for such a long time. Her dress was picked out, and she knew exactly how she wanted me to fix her hair.
“I want my curls to go like this, Mommy,” she had said, shaking her head from side to side so that her natural ringlets rested over her shoulders. I had tried to convince her to straighten her hair or allow me to shape the curls using the curling iron, but she refused. She wanted a braid down the middle with her natural curls flowing around her.
I braided her hair, put the slightest dab of light pink blush on her cheeks, then dabbed a small amount of lip gloss on her lips. I then placed one of my most special possessions around her neck, a necklace of pearls my own mother had given me. I kissed her on the forehead, then held her as tight as I could.
Her daddy rang the doorbell, and we opened the door to find him standing there in his best suit and tie. He held a small bouquet with a single rose in his hands.
“For me?” she had said excitedly as she jumped up and down and giggled.
She wrapped her four-year-old arms around his neck then paused just long enough for me to take pictures. I don’t think I have ever seen her smile so big.
My husband opened the door for her then carried her up and helped her into her car seat. They drove slowly down the street as she waved happily from the window.
He took her to dinner. They talked about all sorts of things like what type of animal she’d be if she could choose, then laughed over tic-tac-toe and ate her favorite gluten-free pizza. They then went to the dance and enjoyed the evening with friends, dancing together on the dance floor.
She came home that night fast asleep, her head on her daddy’s shoulder, her two middle fingers in her mouth, just like she’s done since she was an infant. I tucked her in bed, kissed her goodnight, and prayed over her before leaving her bedside.
A couple of tears crept down my cheeks as I walked slowly to our bedroom. Tonight our little girl got to experience firsthand how a man treats a lady. Tonight she felt the love from her father, a love that I as a mother can never give her. I saw her glow with a joy unlike anything I had ever seen before. It made me realize how very special the bond is between a father and a daughter. I realized how important their relationship was in preparing her for future relationships as a grown woman.
As my husband heeds the call of Biblical fatherhood, she will see commitment, integrity, strength, and humility. She will see how he leads our family, how he asks for forgiveness, how he gives grace. She will see how he prays, how he reads his Bible, how he serves others. She will see how he loves me as his wife, how he helps me, how he talks with me each day. And then, she will see how very much he loves her and how he will do anything to protect her, and she will know what to look for.
She will have more father-daughter dances, but this one and the last will be the most memorable. For one day, I will be fixing her ringlets under a white veil and applying blush on her grown-up cheeks. Her face will be lit up with joy, her excitement flowing from her eyes. Her father will take her by the arm and walk her down an aisle sprinkled with rose petals. He will kiss her on her forehead, and she will wrap her arms around him. And then, he will take her hand and place it in his, knowing that his work is done. . .
It will be time for her to move forward, a time for her to fly.
On that night, they will call her and her father out for their father-daughter dance. My husband will take her by the hand and dance with his baby girl one more time. They will talk about the future, the past, and the man that will now stand by her side. But somewhere in the midst of it all, we will see her as she was today. She will be four again, wearing her string of pearls, jumping up and down, giggling, and dancing with her daddy.