So I took my daughter to the boy-band show – an outdoor concert by the Jonas Brothers.
She was 8, it was summer in Phoenix and by the time the concert ended, she was half asleep, resting her head on my shoulder.
Then came One Direction, which naturally led to 5 Seconds of Summer. And I know he’s a one-man boy band, but we have seen Justin Bieber, too.
You may have seen an article or two online about these “poor dads” being forced to take their daughters to the One Direction concert.
Why I feel sorry for those dads
There are slide shows even of these “poor dads,” reading books and making faces like kindergarten students being made to eat broccoli.
And I do feel sorry for those dads – the ones with their books and their miserable pouting expressions who probably went to work the next day to regale their friends with their horrible tales from the trenches.
I feel sorry for those dads because they’ll never know what they were missing.
Those concerts are some of the happiest memories of my life, seeing the joy and excitement spread across my daughter’s face as she learned to throw her arms up in the air and shriek along with all the other girls, while also feeling part of something bigger than herself.
And, as she got older, taking those tentative steps to independence while working her way to the front of the crowd without me.
It was a beautiful thing to witness.
A different perspective
We’re not always there when our kids are enjoying the best times of their lives.
And as my daughter heads into her senior year of high school, I know I’ll have even fewer opportunities to be part of those times. It would ruin them, really. No one wants their parents there for everything.
Last month, I drove her to Vidcon, a video conference in Anaheim. She’d been looking forward to it since she bought the tickets last December.
Every morning I would drop her off so she could go have fun. At night, I’d pick her up and listen to her talk about the day’s events.
The first day, I offered to take her to lunch. We went to Jimmy John’s (her choice, not mine) and talked about her morning. It was awesome.
By the second day, she’d made new friends and that was that for daddy-daughter lunches. Which is fine, you know? Because it meant the big event she had been looking forward to all summer was making her happy.
So I bought a fancy magazine about my favorite group, the Kinks, and ate my lunch all by myself.
Looking to the future
My daughter fell in love with California at a young age and her dream for years has been to go college there. I have a running joke that isn’t very funny where I tell her if she went to Phoenix College, it’s just around the corner from our house and she could come home every night for dinner.
I know that won’t happen. She’ll go off to California or some other place that isn’t just around the corner, one more tentative step to independence.
And I will miss her needing me to be there for those special moments.
But we’ll always have the Jonas Brothers.