dancing with dad then, and now at the Zonta Father Daughter Dance in Traverse City

Dad wanted to Fox Trot, but I didn’t know how. I’d only had one ballroom dance lesson and it was months earlier. Everyone was watching and I didn’t want my first dance with Dad to be me watching his feet trying to keep up, so he acquiesced to just swinging side to side.

On that day, my wedding day, I was only nervous about that dance with my Dad.

Growing up we had Girl Scouts and Indian Guides. Dads did stuff with sons; moms did stuff with daughters. I grew up in the South where black tie affairs, balls and galas were common and by my 25th birthday, my closet was filled with dozens of gowns. I wore lots of them twice, three and even four times.

I went with boyfriends, friends. I went to the Young Ambassadors Ball alone once. But I never went with my Dad. It wasn’t the fashion of the time. Research now shows that a girl’s relationship with her dad is important in helping her have good judgement when she starts dating.

My daughter and her father are going to Zonta’s Father Daughter dance at the Traverse City Country Club¬†and my husband has accused me of being more excited than my daughter. Perhaps.

I remember a day when Dad and I, just us, spent a day together. He packed a picnic. It was fall and we went up to the Northport lighthouse, Christmas Cove and through some apple orchards. I must have been in my 20s. I remember everything. I felt important and I think he probably treated me better that day than 75% of my dates.

I hope my daughter, now a tender 10 years old, has that kind of memory with her Dad after this dance. They are going with friends, other dads and daughters. Portraits, corsages and a dance floor. He’ll hold the door for her. And ask her to dance. And maybe, just maybe every guy that takes her out after will have to live up to him.

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