Friday night I took my daughter to a Father/Daughter dance at her school. I'd really been looking forward to it, she cried last year when they sold out before we sent in our money (they sold out first day, we sent money the day after not knowing they'd sell so quickly). So we had these plans, my wife was so excited and wanted me to "treat her like a Princess".
Cutting through the little bit of drama at the beginning of the night (her anxiety about actually going once we got there) we had a nice dinner. She was acting silly and obviously didn't want to be treated like a Princess ("Treat me like a little girl!") which was fine. Then we got into the dance itself. She worries quite a bit about people watching her, and her looking silly. It's something I wish I could help her feel comfortable with but I'm realizing it's just her personality and all the work we do to make her comfortable in her own skin only goes so far. Because of this, she's got anxiety about dancing. The last thing I want is to increase her anxiety, so we chat a bit and stand to the side.
"I see a couple of friends from class. Can I go play with them?". Sure, have fun. So there I stand at the Father/Daughter dance, for an hour. Occasionally seeing my daughter run past me, watching her have a blast. That's a treat for a kid, getting to run pretty unsupervised on a Friday night. I get that, and try my best not to be disappointed that she's having more fun with her friends than she was having with her Dad. I suppose I'd better get used to that.
As I'm standing against the wall counting the minutes until the dance will end, I can't help but be struck with how similar this feels to my younger days. Going to a dance, being a wallflower while the object of my affection runs about having fun.