Oh boy, where do I begin? What a blessing it has been to raise two wonderful daughters! The flip side is, a father must come to grips one day when he will have to release them into the hands of another man. If I was making the rules, I’d keep them the way they are but that’s not what the Designer intended. Therefore, I must suspend my desires for their destiny.
On October of 2007 I was fortunate to walk my firstborn daughter down the wedded aisle. At the age of twenty-two Ashley married a wonderful young man. I remember a few weeks prior to the event, friends would ask me – how’s the father of the bride (FOB) doing? I would simply hide my emotions, and respond, “I’m doing fine.” I was, however, an emotional mess as tears would suddenly emerge at the most random times. In one instance, three days before the grand event my younger daughter came into town, taking a short reprieve from college, to play a key part in her sister’s bridal party. During a memorable evening with the family my two daughters’ joined in a spontaneous dance in the middle of the living room; tears immediately streamed down my cheeks, as I reflected upon what seemed to be such a short time ago, as children, they danced and played in the same place. Letting go is not easy but it’s part of life’s transitions.
As soon as I got over this one, another fine young man entered the picture. He dated my youngest daughter for awhile. In June 2010, he took me out to breakfast and asked for my daughter’s hand in marriage. In August 2010, he took her to the top of the Grand Canyon to propose to her. The photographer he secretly invited took an amazing picture in real time. It was certainly a “Kodak” moment.
Now, as my younger daughter’s wedding day approaches this Saturday, March 12th 2011, I have been experiencing a broad range of mixed emotions once again, from grief to great joy. There is something that goes through a father’s mind and soul, as he prepares to give the most precious thing in his life away to another man. I don’t know about other fathers, for me it has been an emotional rollercoaster in both cases. In this second go around, I begin to cry while watching a movie where two people are falling in love or when random thoughts enter my mind about the wedding day. I can’t help it, I’m like a leaky water faucet and require an “emotional plumber” to fix the constant dripping.
Having daughters equates to having weddings, and shedding many tears alone just before the “father-daughter walk” down the aisle. If only a father had someone to talk to… somewhere to vent. Life isn’t fair or is it? Don’t misinterpret me! A father shares in his daughter’s joy but his experience is much different. It’s probably the process of release and change that is difficult to grasp, even if it’s good change.
As I prepare myself for my second and last walk down the aisle, I can’t help but to embrace a proud moment and a new son; to create a wonderful memory with my daughter, and enjoy a unique gift to fathers from the Creator’s hand.
The aftermath (written Tuesday, March 15th, 3 days after the grand event):
Well, the day has come and gone but not my tears… All I can say is that I’m blessed beyond measure. My wife and I have been given the privilege of raising and preparing two wonderful daughters for life and marriage. I’m so glad they choose to marry men instead of boys; godly men who will love them, take care of them and treat them as I did or even better. I’m so proud of them. In the meantime, I will continue praying for their success and happiness.
As a father, can you share your experience with our reading audience?