I have gone on quite a few dates in my life. Some were elaborate and fancy, some were simple and casual, but the best date I have ever been on is probably not what anyone would expect. It is not one date in particular. It is a series of dates from my younger years, and continues even today.
The most surprising part of it all is that these dates are not with my husband.
They are with my dad.
My daddy daughter dates are some of my most precious memories and occasionally still are a part of how my dad shows his love and concern for me. I would also have one-on-one dates with my mom when I was young and they were fun too, but because my mom could stay home with us and my dad had to work late on normal days, the dates with my dad were something that my parents prioritized for my brothers and me.
These dates as a child were when I felt the most important. Although my dad worked long hours and was tired, he made time for me. He set our dates as a priority, and while together, I knew he wanted to hear about what I had going on and what I was interested in during each age and stage of my life. I often got to pick our outings and I loved that. There were also planned events, like father daughter dances and campouts, as well as spontaneous trips: walks, swinging at the park, going out for ice cream, a trip to the grocery or hardware store, choosing something from the dollar menu at Wendy’s. Each of these dates, no matter how well planned or how inexpensive, all share an equal spot in their ranking on my favorite date scale.
Back then, what my dad was saying to me by setting aside time just for me was, “I love and cherish you.”
It made me feel special and it is something I still hold on to.
The tradition continues today. When my dad is visiting us or we are visiting him, he still finds ways to have one-on- one outings with me. He has also created a similar tradition with my husband, he takes my husband out one-on-one to get to know him better as well. Although I am not on these outings, I am moved by this gesture each time because it feels like a further extension of his love for me as well as Logan. I am grateful he wants to get to know Logan, it shows me about my dad’s character and the deepness of his love for each of us.
Finding ways to take the important people in my life on “dates” is a way I can let them know they are important. It is also a way to grow my love for them by getting to know them. Part of being able to love someone fully is knowing them well. Getting to know someone comes more easily when we set aside time for them personally. Conversation is more likely and comes more naturally when we show this type of interest in someone by spending quality one-on- one time with that person regularly. We can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the planning or expense of dates, but it is good to remember that, like my dates with my dad, dates don’t have to be elaborate. Sometimes a frostee from the dollar menu and a good conversation is all it takes to make someone feel really loved.”