Dads. They are a strange bunch. I will never truly understand because I will never be a dad. But sweet Jesus, where do they come up with the stuff they come up with? Amy
has a good post about the lunacy that is a dad's love over at her blog, and it got me thinking.
I will preface all this with how much I love my dad, how much he truly means to me and would do anything for me. He has always been there. In short, he is your typical great dad. However, he does not always have the appropriate response to situations or emotions that one might expect. Behold the story of my wedding day:
I was raised Catholic, but my father is Jewish. I was married to my husband at the Cathedral on the campus of my college/lawschool, in a Catholic Mass. As most brides can tell you, if you are being walked down the aisle by your father (as I was), there are a few minutes when you and your father are alone waiting in a vestibule off to the side while the bridal party processes. I knew to expect having this solitary and inimate moment with my father, seconds before I would walk down the aisle of a grand Cathedral and he would give me away to my huband. He would be letting go of me, passing me from the heart of his family so that I may start a family of my own with this man that I brought home one Thanksgiving a few years back. The one my mom had told him to be nice to because she thought he might be their son-in-law one day (thank god for moms, the voices of reason).
I thought about those few moments I would have with my father to myself on that day. A wedding day is hectic, and there is little time to feel the weight of the what is happening. I thought that that those few moments, alone, before the doors swung wide and we walked down the aisle would be so meaningful. In those few minutes, I would look at my dad and it would hit me that I am leaving my family, grown and ready to start my own. All that he had given me, all that he had done to prepare me for this...all the years of teaching me things, calming me when I had cried, or making me laugh like only he could. All the driving lessons, all the nights helping with homework, all the graduations, all the groundings, all the talks...all he had done and his reward was me leaving him to move to New Jersey with a guy I brought home for Thanksgiving a few years back and seemed to be sticking around.
I would look into my dad's eyes, and I would say "Thank You". For everything. Thank him for making me who I am, helping me get to this point in my life. Helping me accomplish my dreams. And I wanted him to know that I "got" it. That I understood and appreciated all the sacrafice, worry, tears, and truimph that he went through to get me to this point. I wanted him to know that I was so proud of him, so grateful for being part of him. And so I thought about those moments and what I might say alot in the weeks leading up to the wedding.
And it came. And the day was perfect. It went at 100 mph. Other than every detail of my husband, I remember almost nothing of the day, except vivid moments in time, snapshots in my brain. I remember my Mom in the makeup chair, trying to sit still. I remember when my dad first saw me, and whispered to my mom that it was the most beautiful he had ever seen me. I remember my bridesmaids dancing, my brother crying at the vows. I remember my husband dancing with his mother. I remember telling the trolley driver to "haul ass" on the way to the Church. And I remember the moments, alone with my father before we walked together toward my new husband to be and a new life.
I looked at him and said "This is it, just you and me" and I began to tell him everything he had meant to me, when he interrupted and said:
"If you don't want to do it, it isn't too late"
What in the...? Are you kidding me? I just looked at him and in a complete panic said "do you not like him? Do you not think I should do this? Why did you say that?"
And this man, my father, who has lovingly guided me to this point in my life looked at me like I was the crazy one
and said "No, I like him. I love him. I was just saying..." and he was cut off by the lady pushing us to the doors that 3 seconds later swung open as Pachelbel's Canon D swelled and the congregation stood, and we took our first steps...and the wedding wisked us away. Those moments lost forever.
People said we floated down the aisle. That they could see the pride on my dad's face, and the glow of happiness on mine. Which I always think is odd because, as I remember it, I just kept looking around wild eyed, trying to catch my dad's eye as he smiled and nodded to our friends and family, proud as punch to be walking his only daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. He went through the rest of the day having the time of his life at his daughter's wedding, surrounded by friends and family and love and laughter. It was truly a blessed day. Except for the few moments right before I walked down the aisle.
Dads. What are you gonna do?