Okay, Chick-Fil-A is the best restaurant in the world. “Wait”, you say. “Chick-Fil-A isn’t really a restaurant. It’s fast food. That doesn’t count.” O, contraire mon ami. Let me tell you about my date night with my daughter, Isabella.Sara took Isabella to CFA for breakfast one day during the week last month. While there, she happened to see a sign that said they were going to host a Daddy/Daughter Date night. Sara thought it might be something I would be interested in, so she mentioned it to me. Now, for those of you who don’t know, I take (two-and-a-half-year-old) Isabella to McDonald’s every Saturday morning for breakfast. It is our time to talk (even though the conversation is somewhat thin at this age) and spend time together just the two of us. So, I thought that going to CFA would be a nice change of pace.
I looked it up online and saw that they required me to make a reservation. ??? Really? Okay. That is kind of strange, but alright. Once I made the reservation, they sent an invitation to me and told me to bring it to our date night. Wow. Maybe this is a bigger deal than I thought. Great. Now I am nervous. Is anyone else going to be there? What should I wear? Is this a dress up thing? What if I dress up and nobody else does? What if I don’t and everyone else does? GREAT!Then Sara told me to get a grip and helped bring me back to reality. This isn’t about everyone else, this is about me spending quality time with my daughter and developing a relationship with her that will last for her entire life. Right, right. I did just read Courageous, didn’t I? I should know that. Okay, I am not nervous anymore. I am actually getting excited.
Finally, our date night arrives. Sara helped Isabella get dressed in a nice jumper that happens to be one of my favorites. The matching hat is very cute and also helpful for Daddy. Now I don’t have to try to keep her hair in her bow all night. J I decide to wear my nice jeans and a polo shirt. We pile into the van and head to CFA, wishing Mama a good night.I am still wondering what this night is going to be like when we pull into the parking lot. The first thing I see is a stretch limo sitting there. Whoa! Someone is taking this WAY more seriously than I am. We shall see. As we walk in, I notice that there is a red carpet laid out at the door. We are instantly greeted by a hostess at a podium who asks if I am here for the date night and if she can have my invitation. I hand it to her and she asks for my name and Isabella’s name. Isabella tells the hostess her full name. Adorable. The hostess says hi to her and asks if she would like a flower. It is at that point that I notice the 6 buckets of roses around the hostess podium. Isabella gets to pick one out! She picks a budding pink rose, and the hostess hands it to her. She then takes the two of us around the corner and announces, “Wesley and his little princess, Isabella”. All of the dads turn and smile. I return the smile and I know I am in for a great night.
I am led through the mass of fathers and daughters to my table. Now, for those of you familiar with our CFA, the section in front of the restrooms was completely set apart for this night. Every table was full of dads and their daughters (some with more than one). Each table was covered with a black table cloth with a battery operated candle (that flickered) and some flowers. There were paper place mats, menus, and a small booklet talking about the night. I was sitting there taking it all in, when my waitress showed up and asked for my drink order! This is too cool. So, I order our drinks and notice that at the table next to us is one of our friends (and one of Isabella’s teachers at church). We talk for a bit until our waitress comes back to deliver our drinks and take our order. Man, this is so cool. She leaves and the hostess makes an announcement that the limo is about to go on its next run if anyone would like to go. What? Okay, so this is too much. CFA hired the limo! We all get to go on rides after we eat! My friend at the next table just ordered ice cream for his girls and they got to take it on the ride! This is so neat!!Our food came and it was the normal CFA fair. While we were eating, I looked around and saw many men from our church in attendance with their daughters. It was very encouraging to see so many men out with their girls trying to build better relationships with them. Our waitress checked on us several times throughout the night to make sure everything was okay. We got a visit by the hostess and by the manager himself. I made sure to pay my compliments to everyone that this was a great night. We were invited to go on the limo ride when we were done eating, too.
During the meal, the hostess made an announcement that she had a special presentation curtsey of CFA, and she sang to us. She sang Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman. I don’t know if you are familiar with this song or not. If not, watch the video posted below, and bring a hanky. I had heard it once before, so I knew what was coming. But, I had just recently finished reading Courageous (See my review here). In the book (spoiler alert) the dad is asked by his 9-year-old-daughter to dance in public. He refuses because he would be embarrassed. Well, in the next scene she dies in a car accident and he feels guilty about not dancing with her for the rest of the book. So, add that to the song and the fact that the hostess is walking around and actually sings to Isabella, and I about lost it.Throughout the rest of the meal, Isabella and I used the placemats as conversation starters. That’s right, the placemat. CFA made special placemats that had topics of conversation for us dads to have with our daughters. Of course, our conversation was a little one-sided, but it was still very cool. The booklet that was also on the table was full of more conversations to have and ways to keep building our relationship after the date was over.
As we finished dinner, Isabella decided to play on the playground instead of going for a limo ride. I was a bit disappointed, but hey, watching her go down the slide is just as fun. We went home that night having had a great time and a lasting memory for Daddy. Isabella showed her flower to Mama and we put it in a vase on the table. She pointed it out to anyone who came over and let them all know that it was her flower.It was a great night and a memory I will not soon forget. I hope Chick-fil-A does this again. I will certainly attend. I hope all of you dads out there will go too. You won’t regret it.