I am nearing the end of the nighttime routine, tucking in my 12-year-old daughter whom we call Pickle. The dog is curled up next to her on the pillow, his eyes half-mast, getting ready to dream about his girlfriend, the dog next door.

It is a familiar and comforting scene, this end of day moment and I am in no rush tonight. So when Pickle says, “Dad, tell me about the old days, when life was normal and we could go out and do things, like play with friends and drive off-Island for adventures,” I smile and say okay.

I lie down next to her, look up at the ceiling and think for a moment.

“What do you want to hear?” I ask.

“How about that time we were surrounded by a bus-load of drunk Canadian women who wanted to take you home, back across the border,” Pickle suggests.

“One of my favorites,” I respond, and we settle in.

It was Pickle’s 10th birthday and to celebrate I took her to see a Taylor Swift show, her first concert and my first tweener show. It was high summer and the world full of activity — beaches crowded, shops bustling and music filling the air.

Upon entering Foxboro Stadium, the first thing I noticed was that the ice cream line was 10 times as long as the beer and wine line. This was definitely not dad-land but I took it in stride, waving and laughing at Pickle stuck in the ice cream line as I made it through the beer line with ease.

When we found our seats, a party was already in full swing. Pickle and I were an island of two surrounded by about 20 Canadian women ages 30 to 60 and a sober bus driver in her 70s. No one had brought kids.

It didn’t take long for us to make friends. The women had traveled to see the show from a small town outside of Toronto. They planned to do a bit of sightseeing in Boston too but today was all about Taylor Swift. One woman, Daphne, told me she had left her daughter at home with her no-good, ex-husband.

“I think she kind of liked you,” Pickle says, interrupting my journey to the past. And yes, it certainly looked that way as Daphne peered deeply into my eyes as if trying to magnetize my soul and take it with her.

“Pickle,” I respond, “remember what I told you that day, that she only liked the idea of me.”

“What does that mean again?”

“Well, a guy being nice to his kid in public has it made. As long as he doesn’t lose his temper and mostly stays off his phone he is treated like a king. It’s been that way for me since you were born. Once, when I was pushing you in a stroller, a woman stopped her car, rolled down the window and growled at me.”

“That’s weird,” Pickle says. “Does that happen to mom, too?”

“She’s never mentioned it,” I say.

Pickle chews on this thought silently for a moment and then takes us back to the past. “Remember when you left me alone at the concert because you had to go to the bathroom?”

“You weren’t alone,” I say. “You were with your new Canadian aunties.”

Pickle didn’t want to leave our seats when I went to the bathroom so when our new friends offered to watch her I said okay. But when I returned Pickle was gone.

“Oh, she went with Daphne to get some more beer and ice cream,” one of the women told me.

Suddenly, I felt completely alone, imagining the newspaper headlines: Idiot Dad Loses Daughter at Taylor Swift Show. But eventually they did return, with Pickle leading the way.

“Daphne got kind of lost and confused out there in the beer line,” Pickle told me. “But I found our way back.”

Ah, I thought, I’m teaching independence and survival skills. I was back in top form.

The concert started then and was incredible, a three-hour sing-a-long and dance marathon with our new friends. I knew most of the songs but not every word like everyone else at the show. But it didn’t matter. Our seat-mates filled in the gaps and when my feet started to hurt Daphne danced with Pickle deep into the night.

When the show ended and the lights went down on stage, our group continued to sit together, enjoying our new found friendship, strangers brought together in a shared experience. We all hugged and took photographs, which came out mostly blurry, unlike the memory which is crystal clear.

“That’s how it was in the old days,” I say to Pickle, as we rest shoulder to shoulder, back in the present. We turn on some music and Taylor Swift is singing to us again, that everything will be alright if we just keep dancing like we’re 22.

“I’m kind of sad now,” Pickle says. “Do you think it will ever be like that again?”

“Definitely,” I say. “It has to. Daphne will demand it.”