On Saturday, Uncle Greg escorted Katie to the Daddy Daughter Dance.
(She has specific criteria for her dance "dates" -- they must be related to her and they must be daddies. So Papa and Greg are on her short list.)
She had been looking forward to the event for weeks.
When she went to bed on Thursday night, she said, "I can't wait until Friday, because then I'll be able to say, 'The Daddy Daughter Dance is tomorrow!' "
Early Saturday afternoon, she had her hair styled at the Dry Bar. (She wouldn't allow curls, but the stylist did sneak in an adorable flip at the ends of her shiny, long hair.) As we walked back to the car, she asked how old you have to be to go to the dance.
"The minimum age is 4," I told her, "but you first went when you were 3."
"Well, we weren't sure that Daddy would be alive for the dance when you were 4," I told her, "so we decided to cheat a little."
Katie thought for a moment and then replied, "That was a sad prediction to have to make, but it was a good prediction."
We arrived home just as Greg was arriving from Anna.
I acted as chauffeur. First stop: A pre-party at a friend's house.
Next stop: The Frisco Convention Center. I dropped Greg and Katie off near the entrance and cried a little as I watched them walk hand-in-hand into the dance.
Greg texted me photos throughout the dance -- every one with a beaming Katie.
Ninety minutes later, I returned to pick them up. Katie was sobbing.
"I miss Daddy," she cried as Greg helped her into the minivan.
I fought back tears as I told her that I miss Daddy, too, and that Uncle Greg misses Daddy.
By the time we arrived home, she had mostly recovered. I learned about some of the songs and the snacks. She thanked Uncle Greg for taking her and thanked me for always letting her attend.
I am so thankful for the incredible men in our lives -- excellent role models and gentle souls. I know that we are blessed to have so many people care for us.
But sometimes, I feel just like Katie, wanting to cry to when it's impossible to think of anything else except Steve is missing.