I arrived on time.
I'd been told the program would start at 5:30 and I managed to slide in on the money. Had there not been a stalled semi on the interstate, I may have been there five minutes earlier but it didn't matter as the lights didn't dim until ten-to-six.
The gymnasium was full by the time I got there and I just managed to find a seat in the fifth row. In that crowd, I was worried that Lilly wouldn't be able to see me. After all, I wasn't there so much to see the program as I was to see her. It was her first real "school program" and really, her seeing me out in the audience was all that really mattered.
The students filed in and took their places on the risers. Lilly appeared diffident, out of place and it made me wonder if she really wanted to be there, singing and going through the motions. As far back as I was, I had to try - I waved.
It was if she had daddy radar, she recognized me immediately, aglow, lighting up the room with her smile. She waved back and shifted her mood, confident and happy to be there. During the program, she kept looking my way to see she had my undivided attention.
When it was over, I picked her up and carried her outside. She's four feet tall and almost 50 pounds but I could have sworn she was just a baby. My days of carrying her are numbered but she will always have my undivided attention.