It was her big day. The day that every father secretly dreads in his heart-of-hearts, but pretends to be overjoyed about for the sake of his little girl’s happiness. Today, another man has come and, with a smile and a handshake, taken her away from him forever.
How did it happen that time should have passed so quickly? It seems as if it were just yesterday that he would walk the floor in the dead of night, cradling her tiny body against his chest as she cried and cried. The colic attacks always hit at three in the morning for some reason. He never understood why, and the pediatrician was not much help either. He tried changing her formulas and her feeding schedules, but nothing helped. When the attack was over, he’d marvel at the innocence of her little face as he laid her gently back down in her crib. Then he would return to his own bed, where he’d pull the king quilt over his head and finally go back to sleep.
Before he realized it, she had graduated from diapers and bottles, to climbing around on the monkey bars at the playground. In those days, she was growing so fast that he was hard-pressed to keep up. All of his spare time seemed to be devoted to hunting through children’s clothing stores, looking for girls shirts and shorts that she wouldn’t grow out of after wearing only a handful of times.
Then came the teenage years. What a misery those were! He could not count the times he wished her mother were still around to help guide their daughter through them. His little girl’s body was changing in ways that challenged and confused her. But how could a father adequately explain the workings of a woman’s biology when he had never experienced them himself? Somehow, they muddled through.
Soon, she was heading off to college. She was the very image of her mother at that age. It made his heart ache to look at her. All of the bittersweet memories of their time together came flooding back. Had they really had only five years together? The time had been too short.
Sooner than expected, she dropped the bombshell. They were in jewelery section at a nearby department store, when she drew his attention to the display of mens wedding bands. His heart had dropped through the floor, but he kept the smile on his face as he congratulated her. Robert was a good man, after all, and he could not think of a better person to entrust his daughter to.
As her big day draws to a close, he watches as they head off on their new life together. Despite the sadness, he feels a father’s pride. He’s never seen her looking more radiant. Surely, she must be the most beautiful bride that there ever was.