I think my favorite, most treasured moment from Lindsey's wedding last summer was the father/daughter dance. This is odd, since everyone who knows me knows that I have absolutely no dance skills. Zero.
What I DO have is the honor of having three daughters: Lindsey (the bride), Emilie (the teenager), and Maddie Kate (the preschooler). I have always loved the wonderfully tear-jerking song "Cinderella," but we had an "a-ha" moment about three months before Lindsey's June wedding. After dinner one night, Emilie pointed out that I have three daughters that fit perfectly into the three verses of Steven Curtis Chapman's song. As I played the tune on my phone as we did the dishes, I found myself crying like a baby. I knew we were on to something.
*If you don't know the song, you really should. Each verse describes a daughter asking her dad to help her to practice her dancing: a preschooler who is dreaming about being a princess at "the ball." A teenager who has been asked to the prom. And finally, a young woman who is getting ready to get married. In each case, the dad takes time to "dance with Cinderella, while she is still in my arms." Sniff-sniff.
Fast forward to Lindsey's wedding this summer. It was a beautiful ceremony and God was all over it. My part was easy...at least until we got to the reception. After Lindsey and my new son-in-law made their entrance and had a dance, me and the girls were up.
The plan was for Maddie Kate to dance around by herself for the first verse. She would then come and get me for the chorus and off we would go. We practiced and everything. But once the room filled up with 400 guests, the four year-old got stage fright. I was forced to carry her. Both literally and figuratively. I was hoping that my horrible dancing abilities would be hidden by her cuteness, but no such luck. I had to actually move a bit. I was clearly out of my comfort zone, but it turned out okay. For verse two, Emilie took over quite nicely. By the time the bride had her turn (and everybody was sniffing back tears, including me) we had found our groove. It was probably my favorite part of one of my favorite days ever.
It's a big honor to be a dad, especially to daughters. They need their dads at every step along the way. They need us to guard them, guide them, and especially to unconditionally love them. And they do grow up so very fast. Trust me on this, guys. That girl I walked down the aisle was just a newborn a few years ago.
If you have a daughter, take advantage of every chance you get to love her and to laugh with her. And don't forget to dance with her. Because all too soon, the clock will strike midnight...and she'll be gone.