I DIDN’T REALIZE how pensive I must have looked standing alone at the back of the wedding party’s line.
My first clue: a photographer sat on the floor nearby and pointed her camera at me while I stared off in the other direction.
I don’t know what I was thinking.
I was kinda numb at the time, moments before walking my daughter down the aisle.
Ahead of me were rows of bridesmaids and groomsmen waiting their turn to walk.
Standing directly in front of me were the young son and daughter of my niece—the flower girl along with the ring bearer, whom my brother told to deliver the ring with these words: “Let’s get the show on the road.”
The ring bearer did not comply.
Couples gone, my daughter appeared from the bridal waiting room.
“You look beautiful,” I said.
She was trembling a bit and trying not to cry.
I had anticipated this and had thought of what I might say to help calm her.
As we began to walk, while the curtain was opening to reveal us, I said, “You’ve kissed a lot of frogs to get here. Let’s go get the prince.”
I don’t know if she smiled. The curtain was open and we were walking. The crowd of about 150 rose to greet us.
“Who gives this woman to this man,” Dave Pendleton asked. He’s a chaplain in the Air Force now, but he was our pastor when Rebecca was a teenager.
What I wanted to say was this:
“I’ve never thought of her as ours to give. She was on loan from God. He entrusted her mom, her brother, and me to love her and look after her. Today we entrust her to the love and care of Jon.”
But that was too long-winded, I was told by my son.
“Her mother and I.”
I hugged my daughter who was still fighting tears.
“God bless you, Rebecca,” I whispered. “Now bring me home a son-in-law.”
I shook the groom’s hand and gave him the one-armed guy hug that he had pre-approved. I leaned into him and said, “God bless you, Jon.”
Then, with my left hand on Rebecca’s back, I gently nudged her toward the man she would marry—an action that conveyed the idea of giving her away…or pushing her out of the nest. She had choreographed that move.
About an hour later, at the reception, I mumbled through a toast with a couple of stories intended to reveal a bit about her character, from a dad’s point of view.
Too long-winded, I’m fairly certain.
Then the father-daughter dance to the tune of Stephen Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella,” while a video played of me dancing with Rebecca when she was two years old.
My son videotaped our wedding dance. He said he noticed that half the women in the audience were crying.
I’m not a good dancer, but I’m not that bad.
Perhaps they cried because of the message of the song, which talks about how quickly children grow up and leave home.
Maybe the weeping ladies wished they had danced more with their dads.
Maybe they wished they had dads who would dance at all.
Maybe they wished they had dads.
As for me, I’m glad I danced with my daughter at her wedding. And glad I danced with her when she was too young to dance.
Maybe someday she’ll dance with me when I’m too old to dance.
Note to self: Make sure the front wheels swivel on my wheelchair.
There is a time to dance
…a time to hug
…a time to love.
Ecclesiastes 3:4,5,8 NCV
I wonder if that should be our default setting.