Last night, Jeff escorted the girls to their third annual Father-Daughter Valentine's Dance, sponsored by our homeschool association. Along with the Father-Child Campout in September - the polar opposite of the dance, in terms of ambiance and activities! – this has become a major highlight of their year.
I rolled up their hair in curlers on Thursday night, about which they were good sports all day Friday despite being frustrated that they weren't able to "rough house" with each other or friends who visited in the afternoon. And at noon I revealed their dresses, which I had purchased weeks ago but kept hidden from them to add to the excitement. Then, as soon as all the daycare kids had gone home, we started the primping process - brushing out the curls, putting in "hair glue," figuring out which shoes to wear with the dresses. No make-up, though; this is a big deal, but they're only six and seven so we're aiming for sweetness, not Jon-Benet Ramsey wannabees!
By the time Jeff got home, they were almost ready. Then he gave them the new necklaces we'd gotten them and reminded them that they'd be stopping at the florist's for corsages on the way to dinner. And they were off, dining at one of their favorite restaurants, The Noodle Company, before heading over to the dance itself. This morning, they reported to me that they most enjoyed the fast dances, punch, and cookies.
What I most appreciate about the event (not counting the gift to me of a couple of completely quiet hours at home!) is what I pray it does for the girls long-term. First, it's a special bonding time with Jeff - something all girls need more of with their dads - which I hope translates into an understanding of how loved they are by their Heavenly Father. Second, it teaches them what to expect in male-female interactions (i.e., they should be cherished, treated with respect, and cared for by men), and my hope is that they learn to expect no less when they are older. Not in a "princess-complex" way; rather, I just want them to have the strength to walk away from any young men who treat them poorly or expect them to compromise on Biblical values.
That is a big motivation behind the dance for all those involved. Girls often (unconsciously) choose mates who treat them as their dads did. We want our girls to choose those who will love purely and selflessly; this dance is one way to work toward that goal.