One of my favorite relationships to capture on a wedding day is between a bride and her father. There is certainly a special bond there that is hard to put into words but, today, I will try. Growing up, my dad worked A LOT. However, I never resented him for it because, quite frankly, I felt sorry for him. haha! You see my dad is a Gastroenterologist, or as I understood it as a child, a butt doctor. Yep, poor dad . . . he has to look at butts ALL DAY. Honestly, I can’t think of a worse fate so I couldn’t help but think as a child, “Man, he must really love us.” Being the bread winner is HARD, as I can attest while Nathan was in school. Sometimes, late at night, when I would be editing what seemed to be an endless amount of pictures, drinking coffee or eating chocolate covered espresso beans to stay awake, I would think about dad. I remember him always sitting at the kitchen counter working on patients’ charts late into the night while drinking a coca-cola. I would kiss his bald head, tell him I loved him, and would go to bed feeling sorry for him.
Sometimes I think dad wishes he had been around more when my sister and I were little. However, in some ways, his absence made the times we did spend together more vivid in memory. It was a treat to spend time with him! On Saturdays when Dad wasn’t working or on call, he would sometimes leave the house early to “run errands” and come back with some sort of toy. One time he brought back little model rockets that you could light and see blast off into the sky. Another time, he brought home a kite. And another time he brought home a 4-WHEELER, which mommy didn’t like too much but Kristen and I thought was HILARIOUS! Dad has always had a curiosity for trying new things, which in essence makes him one of the most interesting people.
Although our time in the evenings was generally limited, I remember the small things too. I remember watching the Cosby Show with dad or falling asleep in dad’s lap at the movie theater because I didn’t want to sit in my own seat because it had germs. LOL! When dad would come home from work, I liked to hug him and then announce, “YOU SMELL LIKE GRAPES!” And sometimes I would hug him and then yell, “Daddy went to Jordan’s BBQ!” Being the germaphobe that I am, I would often inspect dad’s shirt upon his return home from work. If there was a spot on it, I would point to it and ask, “What’s that?” He would look down, scratch the spot, lick his finger, and say, “Um . . . people juice!” Kristen and I would run screaming from the room.
Although dad can always write a prescription, I think he would agree that laughter is often the best medicine. When I was young and bedridden from illness, dad would enter my bedroom carrying an old medicine bag and pull out a stethoscope. It always seemed a little over-the-top so it gave me a chuckle. Ready to give me a full evaluation, dad would inquire about my symptoms and check my vitals in dramatic fashion. He could always make me laugh even when I assumed I was on death’s door and these could be my last moments. Looking all pitiful and doe-eyed, I would eventually ask, “So what do I have?” After giving himself a moment to think, he’d say, “I think . . . you have a terrible case of Wussitis.” Laughing I would say, “Yeah right, dad! You know I’m stronger than you!” Even today, whenever I get sick, I always call dad to fix me. And even though I wouldn’t recommend him toooo much as a HOME handy man, dad certainly knows how to remedy most of my problems. Sometimes I think that’s the greatest thing about dads; they’re always waiting in the wings to fix things when mom or know one else can. So now we come to the crust of it; that special relationship between daughters and their fathers.
As a daughter, I fear my dad and his opinion most. Yet, at the same time, he’s the one I run to when my problems are too big or complicated to handle. Yes, like his job, dad would always get the butt-end of all my problems, generally in the form of a large bill or notice from the state. LOL! Every once in a while, dad would call me down into his “man cave” to explain why my credit card bill was so high or why I had received, yet again, ANOTHER reckless driving ticket. Not wanting to shame me too much, he would pay off my debts so I could move on with my life. And that’s another thing . . . another thing that dads do; they’re constantly trying to propel us forward. While moms sympathize, listening to every detail of our most recent heartache, dads scurry to offer solutions and perspective that moms just can’t. Whether it be on a relationship gone bad, choosing a career, or simply explaining the realities of life, dads are always ready to steer us into greener pastures. And, although it may seem like a dad’s job is simply to be everyone’s personal ATM, they are SO much more than that.
On occasion, my dad has expressed his desire to walk into the woods, never to return. Oddly, I could never understand this until a few years ago. Again, being the bread winner and the one in charge is hard. Sometimes, you just want people to leave you alone and deal with their own problems. However, dads should know this: the more you are needed, the more you can never be replaced. When the day came for my dad to walk me down the aisle, I was all smiles until the question was asked, “Who gives this woman away?” I remember thinking, “No! Don’t leave me!” In that moment, I couldn’t help but wonder if Nathan could ever love or care for me as much as my dad had. And, although I can say that Nathan has made for a super fine husband, there is nothing quite like a father’s love. In conclusion, I’d like to end with a quote by Mary Stuart, a Scottish Queen. She said, “To be needed and wanted by those we love is certainly the nearest we can come to happiness.” Is there anything more true?