Daddy of the Bride
is no real job description for the father of the bride. You stand around
feigning patience and bravery, telling fibs like, “I’d love to buy
that dress for you,” hoping they don’t catch you gasping at the price
tag and smacking your forehead. You find yourself saying, “Sure, go
ahead. No problem. I’ll write a check.” And all the while you have as
much control of your emotions as a Brazilian soccer fan. You smile when it
makes no logical sense, choke back unsolicited advice, and barricade the
tears when she says, “Let’s go for one last walk. Tomorrow I change my
truth is, she’s had you wrapped around her pinkie for 22 years. Your
sons are another matter. You paw the ground and snort at them, but not
her. She bats her eyes and you are cheese in a barbecue. (Photos by Ron
when this stunningly gorgeous gal takes your arm and pulls you down the
aisle, the minister talks but you don’t hear him. You’re too busy
staring daggers at the boy you’ve been trying to keep on curfew for
months. You’re the quarterback on the final play of the Superbowl and
they’ve asked you to hand the ball to a rookie whose skills are
untested, whose motives are not entirely pure—much like yours’ when
you were his age.
anyone have reason these two should not be joined?”
I have 300 reasons! Where do I start?”
you choose the right to remain silent and sit beside your wife who is
dabbing her eyes with a Kleenex but needs a beach towel. “I’ll tell
you why people cry at weddings,” you whisper. “They haven’t slept
for three days.”
stands there looking like an opportunity missed by Rembrandt and when she
talks I am dabbing too: “Jordan Matthew, I stand before you in white,
not because of fashion, tradition, or purity, but because God is giving me
to you as a gift. I promise to put Jesus first in our marriage, to love
him more than you, for only then can I truly show you love. I promise to
make you laugh often and to be faithful. To make home a place you run to;
a place you want to stay. I will care for you, be your helpmate, encourage
you in ministry and stand by you no matter what comes. I give my heart to
you, to guard and protect. I love you.”
the row behind us sits Bill. Thirty-four years ago today he stood at the
altar with snow-capped expectations vowing to be true to my wife’s
sister. He had no idea they would enjoy nine short years together before
Huntington’s Disease arrived and the slow ride to the nursing home
began. Here I am, surrounded by all these saints.
the reception, my voice quivers like a fat man on a diving board and I’m
thankful for notes. “My darling Rachael: We’ve been praying for this
day for 22 years. Not because we wanted to get rid of you, but because we
wanted to see you happy and smiling and hanging onto a guy who is
head-over boots in love with you, reasonably handsome, and relatively
responsible. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
said, ‘Don’t think of it so much as losing a daughter.’ They’re
right. I think of it as paying
to lose a daughter. You’re worth every penny. Sadly no one takes
pennies. They want twenties and hundreds.
nights when you were small I tucked you in with butterfly kisses. A nose
rub. Fluttering eyelashes. ‘I love you, Rachael,’ ‘I love you too,
Daddy.’ Remember Jordan, I loved her first.
friend Simone asked if I was gonna cry walking you down the aisle. I told
her if I did it would be because I was about to hand the Mona Lisa to a
300-pound orangutan. She laughed because she knows that Jordan is anything
but. He’s actually 200 pounds. Seriously, we love you Jordan. You fit
into our family like chocolate on a s’more.
you’ve brought us up well. Most nights when we knocked on your door, you
were listening to country music or reading your Bible or counseling some
needy friend on my phone. Thanks for your example. And thanks to both of
you for not opening your Christmas presents in September. Sadly, the world
we brought you into teaches you to wait for nothing. Like you, Ramona and
I didn’t share a pillow until our wedding night.
We’ve not regretted it for a single moment.
prayer is shorter than 22 years ago. Today it’s ‘Thanks!’ We thank
God for you both. We’ll be cheering and praying. And the fridge will
always be stocked.
and Grandma would have loved to see this day. They passed along so many
great family traditions. For instance, they went along on all of our
honeymoons. We can’t wait to spend the next two weeks with you in
to all my friends about to partake in the six course meal, I want you to
know that we are enrolled in the Gift Registry at the First National