When my daughter Anna-Frances was four years old, I took her on our first date. “I will take you anywhere you want to go, Anna. Where do you choose?”
She wanted to go to the local pizza buffet restaurant and then go to the Ingles Deli for dessert.
We planned that I would come home at lunchtime. When I arrived, she was all dressed up like a doll. Her hair in pig tails, and a tiny bit of lipstick on, I had rarely seen her so excited. We hugged and kissed and said goodbye to the rest of the family. I buckler her into her car seat, got behind the driver’s seat. But first, I turned around, took her hand, and prayed.
“Lord, thank you for Anna-Frances. I love her. Help me to be a good daddy to her and love and lead her. Help her one day to have a good, godly husband that loves and leads her. Please bless our time together today on our date. Amen.”
And she squeaked her affirmative, “Amen!”
At Dempsey’s Pizza in Clinton, South Carolina, she wanted to sit next to each other in a booth. There we were, daddy and daughter with a whole big booth to ourselves, sitting leg to leg on one side. We slowly enjoyed our pizza and talked about whatever four-year old girls want to talk about. We held hands every time we went to get more at the bar and when we walked to the car. Then, at her request, we headed to Ingles Supermarket. I don’t remember what we ordered, but there was some sweet dessert there worth our time. I do believe that is the only time in my life I have been on a date at Ingles.
Since that day years ago, we have been on many dates. The places have varied as have the activities. Sometimes we have dressed up in Sunday-best. Other times we have been very casual. Sometimes there is a lot of preparation. Other times it is spur-of-the-moment.
I want my daughter to know that her daddy loves her, values her, and wants to spend time with her. She needs to see a man honor her. To honor means to treat very special. She needs to hear a man act and talk respectfully. She needs to hear a man pray to God and respect Him.
I continue dating my daughter. One day, Lord willing, God will bring a man in her life whom she will marry. They will form a family. They will give me and my wife grandchildren. They will probably outlive me. I have prayed for her husband as long as she has been alive. I hope that he will be a responsible, good, and godly man.
Until then, it is my role to show her what a real man looks like. To show her how a real man treats a woman. To remind her that she is God’s child, and that she is my princess.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.