With less than a month to go until Caitlin's wedding, I could tell that Robby was becoming very introspective about the whole affair. Although he wasn't saying much about the wedding or her moving to Cleveland, I could just tell that this was not going to be easy for him..."giving" his daughter away to another man.
We were home by ourselves one evening and "Father of the Bride" came on television. I love that show but considering we were in the middle of a wedding ourselves, I was not about to suggest we watch it. Robby, however, clicked on the show and before we knew it, we were caught up in George Bank's world of conflicting feelings about losing his own daughter. At the end of the show, I realized just how difficult Caitlin's special day was going to be for her dad.
As the show began to come to an end, Robby sat up on the couch and although his eyes were glistening with tears, he made a statement in very firm resolve: "I am not 'giving' my daughter away." Hmmm...I thought just a moment before replying because I knew that he was not joking. When I did speak, I asked exactly what he meant. He told me that he shouldn't be expected to "give" one of his children away; he had not "given" his boys away and he definitely was not "giving" his daughter away. OK...so, I had a little work to do here. I said, "So, when the pastor asks, 'Who gives this woman..." He said, "He better not ask me that question because I will say, "Not me; I'm not 'giving' my child away." Well...I officially had my hands full!
Having not grown up with a father, I find the relationship between a father and his children fascinating. Caitlin will be 23 years old this year and I often times still find her sitting in his lap with her arms around his neck. As the wedding day neared, I knew he was beginning to not only think about her getting married, but also moving away to Cleveland. Up until now, she has always tried to make it home from college on the weekends, spending time with us. Reality was setting in. I thought about his statement and came up with what I thought to be an acceptable solution. "I understand you not wanting to 'give' your daughter away, so what if we just get the pastor to say: "Who "presents" this woman for marriage?" He said that would be OK...but just don't let there be a slip up and the word "give" end up coming out (ANOTHER note to self on my ever growing list...).
I decided to attempt to lighten the mood a little and laughingly suggested that not only he, but all of her brothers should walk her down the aisle together. OOPS! I saw a light bulb go off over the top of his head, as he said, "Now THAT'S a GREAT idea!" Try as I might to turn that light off, I couldn't get it to go out. Perhaps if I didn't mention it again, he would forget about it? Well, one thing I know for sure is that when I am seated in the church that day, I will leave Caitlin and her dad in the back, behind a closed door together. And as they link arms to travel down the aisle for her marriage ceremony, people better have their hankies and tissues in hand. Because tears will be falling with each footstep as father and daughter make their way to the altar. And one thing is for certain...Robby will not be 'giving' his little girl away as he embraces her what I am sure will be the longest hug of their lives; he will merely be "presenting" her for marriage...
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