For about 20 years, the Carter Community Building (CCBA) has been hosting a father-daughter dance at the Witherell Recreation Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
As the name of the event suggests, the special soiree is open to fathers and other paternal figures in a young girl's life, including uncles, grandfathers, and even older brothers.
However, this year, one woman decided to break the rules a bit and accompany her daughter to the Valentine's Day dance.
Jennifer Meade, along with her daughter, son, and boyfriend, attended the event together, but 20 minutes into the evening, things took a sour turn.
The organizers asked Meade and her five-year-old son to leave, but allowed her seven-year-old daughter and boyfriend to stay behind, a situation that has forced the disgruntled mom to take her story to the local news outlets.
“It’s not like anyone was uncomfortable that I was there,” Meade told Valley News. “I wasn’t taking away from anyone’s experience being there.”
She explained that she can't wrap her head around the fact that she has to be a father for them to let her celebrate Valentine's Day with her children.
"In this day and age, it’s not like your gender should define what type of parent you really are," Meade added.
In the end, Meade and her non-traditional family left together because they did not want to split up.
CCBA Executive Director Shelby Day has since commented on the situation, explaining that Meade and her son were not kicked out of the venue because of her gender. She was asked to go to a different area of the building, where she could hang out in a game room.
Day also emphasized that "it's a father-daughter dance" and this important because it allows paternal figures who don't normally get the chance to bond with their girls a special night to do so.
Understanding that family dynamics have changed over the years, Day revealed that the CCBA has plans to throw a mother-daughter dance and a family dance over the next couple of months.
“We’ve always been about community. We’ve never been about disregarding anyone’s feelings about anything,” Day added.
Lebanon's daddy-daughter event isn't the only one that has struggled with changes. This year, Grantham opted to host a family dance instead of a father-daughter night after worries that mothers and sons from households with no male figures would be excluded.
"I think in society now, you need to have (open dances),” she said. “You have to be open to everybody, and it’s not new. We’ve always had these dynamics in families.”
As for the CCBA, they have no plans to change their father-daughter dance anytime soon. The event will go on next year, and unfortunately for Meade, it doesn't seem like there will be exceptions to the rules.