I walked into her bedroom and told her to wake up. It was time to start the day. She stretched out her arms smiling and said tiredly, “Today’s the day we go to One Direction.” She was talking about seeing the new documentary, This is Us. I was invited by Sony to attend the screening of the film and later to attend a Q and A session with the band and director Morgan Spurlock. From the moment I told her we were going to see the movie and would have the opportunity to meet them, it was all she could talk about.
Now I should also say that my daughter knew very little about One Direction before we saw the film. She knew that she was supposed to like them because their faces are all over toys, lunch boxes, posters and her 13 year old cousin is in love with every member of the band. She also knew some of their songs because my daughter and I dance a lot – like every morning a lot – and One Direction’s music plays over the radio hourly. So it made perfect sense for me to use this time as a Daddy-Daughter date.
We talked on the Subway about the band and we sang one of the songs that we knew and even debated who was singing the song correctly. We must’ve looked quite odd on the train singing One Direction songs. Well, at least I probably looked odd. Once we arrived at the theater, we picked up our drinks and popcorn and found our seats. She was giggling before her butt hit the seat.
The movie was funny and we laughed a lot. (You can read my review here) Then, something strange happened that I wasn’t prepared for. During a concert scene, the camera panned across the audience, capturing the screaming faces of thousands of teenage girls. A wave of reality flowed over me. Someday, I’m going to be the father of a teenage girl. The thought occurred to me that someday she isn’t going to want to do these things with me. Her date for a concert or a movie will be a friend, not her dad. Someday I won’t understand her. Someday I’ll tell her to do something and she’ll roll her eyes. Time, at that moment, was my enemy.
After the film ended, we went out for milk shakes. We talked about the movie and all the funny parts. She giggled about the band walking around in their underwear and about a scene where the guys depants Harry during a concert. (You can thank me Sony for just selling a thousand tickets with that last sentence.) Then we walked to the subway hand in hand. On the ride home, she laid her small head upon my shoulder and went to sleep. I smiled to myself and thought of how nice the moment was.
Time isn’t on anyone’s side. The bald spot on the top of my head is evidence of that. After I put her to bed, I reminisced about the day and thought of how just a year earlier I wouldn’t have taken her to a movie like this because she was too young. Now we talk about things we never could have talked about before. And our conversations will only increase as she gets older. Time doesn’t have to be an enemy.
Someday she’ll be a teenager and I need to be ready for it. The only way I can do that is to have a strong father-daughter relationship. To treat her with respect even at her young age. To listen to her before the time comes when she’ll say to me, “you never listen to me.” (Actually, she’s already started saying that so I’m getting a taste of what’s to come.)
I hope, though, that when she’s a teenager she’ll ask to go to a concert and then say, “Will you take me?” A guy can dream, right? Until then, I’ll enjoy our morning dance routines and her giggles.
To read my review of This is us, click here.
To read about my Q and A with Morgan Spurlock, click here.
Other articles I’ve written about raising a daughter: