I’ve done an awful lot of chatting in this blog about the upcoming wedding of our daughter, my dress, my emotions, decorating, the shower and female-related doings.
What about my husband of almost 30 years, Charlie?
Charlie, a quietly loving and diplomatic man, is the literal glue that holds our family together. He is our rock and our refuge. A strong and silent type, he is the epitome of a gentleman. He is, indeed, a “Gentle Man.”
His actions speak much louder than his words and always have. When our daughter was born, he was uncharacteristically emotional. It was a long labor, an emergency Caesarean delivery. Once we were both safe, he left the hospital and returned with enough coral roses (my favorite) to fill two rooms, putting the nurses into a wild scramble to find enough vases.
He sat by my side and sobbed his relief as he held my hand. His arms were the first to embrace her. One of his priorities—after ensuring that we were both indeed okay and calling the families—was to immediately start a college fund for her.
Her first words were “Da Da.” His was the bedtime story voice she loved. He taught her to ride her bike, to ski, to swim, to drive. He was her favorite playmate. He designed and built a wooden swing set for her, painted her room the exact pale turquoise she wanted (Mrs. Blandings, Jr.), moved her in and out of various dorms.
He raised her to be courageous, compassionate, strong and kind. He taught her decency, honesty, truthfulness and honor. He educated her on diplomacy, helping those less fortunate and being a good friend. He counseled her on finance and savings, how to care for her car. He paid for her entire college education so that she would not begin her life burdened by debt. He gave unconditional love and by his own example, showed her what a good husband and father should be.
When heartaches happened, as they do in life, he opened his arms and held her, his quiet strength and comfort the refuge she needed. Nothing was ever too good, no effort too much, for this beloved daughter.
While I gave her laughter, joy, family and love, Charlie is the one that fastened her wings (making sure they were secure first) and then taught her to soar.
And now he is told he must give her away?
We both are overjoyed at this marriage, but are also feeling some distinct pangs. People do grow up. That’s the plan, as Charlie himself would be the first to say.
Yet I know that walk down the aisle as father of the bride is going to affect him deeply.
Our daughter has opted for the officiate to say “presents” rather than “gives” this woman in the ceremony. I know this will help. And I also know the immense pride and infinite love he holds for this treasured, only daughter.
We dearly love and respect our SIL to be. He is the honest, decent, kind and good man we had hoped for her. The love between them is blinding. We couldn’t have picked someone better for her if we had special ordered him ourselves.
We are thrilled at the prospect of grandkids in the future. We embrace him as our son. His family will be our family. How we look forward to Sunday dinners and happy times with our new, enlarged circle. Our heartfelt prayer is that we remain geographically and emotionally close to them both as we all embark on this new adventure together.
But there is no denying that this will be a profoundly tender moment.
As my husband stands at the altar, I know that handsome face I have loved so well for almost 30 years is going to be firmly holding back tears. Tears to see this little girl he has nurtured become a wife. Tears to hand the sacred trust of a father to a new husband. Tears because the time went too fast. And yes, tears of joy that she, too, will be an adored and cherished wife, as I have had the incredible fortune to be for all these many years.
To all the Boomer Dads that have gone and are going through this, I salute you. You are the Unsung Heroes of the wedding day.
For our daughter and me, Charlie has always been and will forever be, our Hero.
by Anne Ambuhl