My date wore a red corsage on her wrist that matched the red bow in her dark brown hair. But with or without the accessories, she was the prettiest girl at the Father-Daughter Dance.
We posed for our official portrait in the hallway and then, holding hands, we stepped on to the darkened dance floor. The deejay was playing "My Girl," a song from my generation that meant nothing to my tiny dancer, but as we danced Kamryn was truly my girl.
She's closer to 5 than 4 but she behaved like a big girl Friday night. This was her first dance and she was excited. She wore a fancy dress and she wanted her date to look his best.
"Wear what you wear to church," she insisted.
To be sure I passed inspection, she picked out my tie. Since it was close to Valentine's Day, she chose a tie decorated with hearts. I had to buy a new iron so her mother could press my white shirt and khaki pants.
Kaye painted Kamryn's nails with sparkling red polish and brushed her hair until it glowed. Both were more worried about how I would turn out.
My dancing was a question mark so Kamryn spent a couple of nights giving me pointers as we twirled around the living room floor. I believe she and her mother decided I was a lost cause.
I got a fresh haircut on my own, a decision that pleased Kamryn. The carnations were my idea and when I got home Friday afternoon with a little plastic box in my hand she knew exactly what it was.
"Mama, look. Papa got me flowers," she announced.
She dug into the box before we knew it. Without asking directions, she slid the corsage on her tiny wrist.
Kamryn is in pre-K at Blanchard Elementary and the dance was held in a school gymnasium that had been transformed into a ballroom. We saw one of her friends before we got to the door and she shared an innocent comment that would have devastated an older child.
"Look Mama, Kamryn has a dress just like mine," she said. Fortunately, she wasn't wearing it Friday.
Music was playing when we arrived and my date's eyes twinkled like stars when we stepped inside.
She took everything in at once.
"Look at the cake," Kamryn said in a breathless voice, "and they have popcorn, too."
Events such as father-daughter dances are designed to make memories, and they do. We have pictures we made before we left the house and pretty soon we'll have the formal photographs taken at the school.
But we don't need them. Because with my little girl on my arm I had all the riches one man can claim.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.