10 minutes. You and your keyboard (or smartphone. Or tablet. Or pen and paper). No pauses, no edits, no looking back: it’s free-write time!
There is a lot to be said about a child’s love, but for the purpose of this post, I need to let one of my five shine above the rest. Not because she is loved more than the others, for that simply is not possible in my mind, but rather because she has struck my heart this year in a way the others have not.
This past couple years I watched as she fell in love. By the look of her and her now husband, it is true love.
To be honest it was a painfully joyous time in my life. The bonds of dad and daughter have had to grow and stretch, and as I am sure is the case with most parental bonds some of those strings were severed. Like the cutting of an umbilical cord so that the next stage of life can proceed.
I had the greatest pleasure of walking my little girl down the aisle on her wedding day, a little more than a month ago now. It was a walk of memories that I still cannot shake from the recesses of my mind.
I did not see the throng of loved ones standing in honor of the bride down both sides, but rather a slide show of mental images. From the day she had come home from the hospital, fond and loving memories flashed before my open eyes.
I know I gripped her arm a bit tighter with each step. That was the Daddy in me not wanting to let go of his little girl.
I had talked to myself for weeks before the wedding, in hopes that part of me would understand. It turns out, I don’t listen to myself any better than our kids do. But in the end, that little girl I still see is now a vibrant young woman with a well formed mind of her own, and a life to begin.
Pulling my arm away from hers in some ways felt like a hot knife searing its way through my very soul My usually confident voice cracked and barely choked out the words “We do” when the minister asked “Who gives her to this man”.
It was all I could do to keep my knees from folding. The only backbone I had was the pure determination not to let anything take the focus away from the happy couple. I stood there under a gorgeous September sky with the bride on my arm in front of at least 100 people praying I would not make a fool of myself by falling over.
I survived it, and a special thanks need to go to the pair of sunglasses that covered my tear filled eyes as I proudly watched the ceremony unfold. Without them, one look at me from her position beside her man would have most certainly ended in a shamble of tears pouring down both our faces!
Since that day, she often reminds me I am still her daddy. Texts and phone calls flow between us almost daily. I can see where this road leads, and I am proud to be on it, although just slightly saddened at the increased silence as yet another one of our children spread their wings in flight.
And today it happened… A wedding thank you card arrived in the mail, and in it was a thanks directly to me her about her wedding- “Dad I could not have gotten down that aisle alone, so thanks for not letting me fall.”
The part she doesn’t know, I was in no better shape myself! Of course being dad I will smile, kiss her forehead, wrap my arms around her for a hug, and utter two words…”Your Welcome.”
I can truly say, she is the second child who has left the nest, No matter where they wander, they will always be my kids, seen and loved through the eye’s of Daddy!
And to the wonderful man that stole my daughters heart, Welcome to the family! Just remember she will always be my baby girl. And that means exactly what you think it does, per the first time we ever met…
Yes I have beautiful daughters, but I also have a gun, a shovel, and an alibi