A little over a month ago, I experienced the incredible dream of handing my oldest daughter to the man she loves. With Zion National Park as her chapel, she took a step into a new life with promises and her husband’s name. It gave a father much to muse on when the excitement and emotion dissipated. As tradition dictates, I was the last to speak at the reception. For muse Monday, I’d like to share those words with you.
When we realized that you were a cash and carry, no return, no refund item, the initial wash of joy dampened with sleepless nights, I admit to having some feelings of trepidation as a new father. Through the years and many transitions of your upbringing, I often asked myself a question. What could a father hope for?
When you learned to talk, a father hopes it will all be giggles and cotton candy, and not a parroting of dad’s penchant for the seven words you’re not supposed to say on TV.
When as a toddler, a father hopes for a quick exit from the diaper years, and when seated at your pretend restaurant for the fiftieth time that week, you would eventually understand that dad just wanted the check.
When you made me watch Little Mermaid for the 257th time, a father hoped you would stop poking me in the ribs when I felt the need to examine the inside of my eyelids.
When you got on the school bus for the first time, a father hoped it would bring you back home with a smile of carnival laughter and new things learned, and not a note from the teacher, or an order for two dozen brownies five minutes before you got back on the bus.
A father hoped you would have a large cocoon of lasting friends to share fun with, to share your deepest soul, and to complain about the Neanderthalic behavior of the opposite sex.
When the time came to set aside childish things, a father hoped that you would be given the tools to survive the netherworld of teen angst, and that I’d be traveling on the other side of the planet when it happened.
When you went to that first dance, a father hoped you would feel as beautiful as you really are, and not be upset to discover boys are still immature Neanderthals.
When you stepped into the colonnades of higher learning, a father hoped you would find a major that sparked passion in your spirit and lead to something you might actually get paid for.
A father hoped that your first footstep in gainful employment would offer you good role models, lead to a start in life that made you proud of what you do, without ever having to deal with bosses that came from the Ebenezer Academy of Inquisitional Supervision.
A father hoped you would learn to shield your heart and have a critical eye in a world of that often seems like nobody knows your name.
When you did find the one, a father hoped that he would be the Prince of your storybook dreams, and build a fire in your heart that would never go out.
To my new son-in-law, I will keep this simple.
You are what a father hoped for.
Your mother I wish that you both get all the things you hope for, in a long and happy life together.