Wisps of gold framed a face that was innocent, yet knowing. Even the veil of movie queen makeup did little to mask the excited-little-girl glitter in her eyes. Homecoming. Precursor to the prom.

dance 1Her father hesitated, wanting to enfold her in protective bear-hug arms, keeping her home, safe all night. He didn’t know how to act aloof and sophisticated — a modern father accepting the reality that she was no longer a shy preschooler.

“Curfew is 11:30. Plenty late enough for a 14 year old. Have a good time.”┬áHis voice was too thick, his eyes too moist, but maybe she didn’t catch that and heard the stern fatherliness he worked so hard to put into the words. “Call if you need help.”

1985-BunniesPerhaps he secretly hoped she would need his help, and daddy could come to her rescue.

Her mother smiled softly. She kept her prayers silent.