Sunday, January 12, 2003

I am officially out of things to say. My bag of tricks... my box of ideas... empty. Not just empty. Scraped clean. No scraps remain in the bottom. No crumbs to expound upon. Everything has been said and everything has been done. But just for memories sake...

Walking my daughter down the aisle... a surreal moment in history. It has not even been 12 yours and yet I struggle for the memory. I remember wondering what was going on in the sanctuary when suddenly Patti Lash pointed at us and directed us to the doorway. Kelli took my arm. She was so beautiful. A vision. On oasis of loveliness on a desert of ordinary. As we stepped out in the aisle my main memory was not of imminent loss. It was pride. Pride in this young woman that somehow managed to turn out so well even when my direction and leadership has been so sporadic. As we walked I looked at her more than I looked in the direction I was going. I did not want to be the only one in the room to miss out on her radiance. We talked but I don't recall what we said. But we made it a happy walk... a walk into the future rather than out of the past. There is something bittersweet that has gone on today. Most everything about Kelli is sweet. And that's what brings a touch of bitterness. It isn't that she's 22 years old, married, and moved out. It's that the old days are over. Someway, somehow, that just... is sad.

Conducting the cremony was one of the oddest moments of my life. I felt as though I were giving away my own head... or my right hand. The presence of this lovely daughter in my home and my life is so expected... so common place... that I really can't concieve of life without her in the room next to mine. Eye contact was very important to me during the ceremony. I did not want to look at the papers in my hand. I wanted to look into their eyes. I Kelli's eyes I wanted to see joy. I wanted to see expectation and satisfaction. In Joe's eyes I wanted to see commitment, resolve, and trustworthiness. I got what I wanted in both instances.The up's and down's of the service amazed me. The full whiteness of the decor brought a sense of purity and holiness. It was perfect. It was Kelli.

And now her room is empty. She still has "stuff" in it but there is no more "she" in it. And she was what filled it. I'm so happy for her. I'm so thrilled for Joe. I am not sad for anyone... especially her mother and I. Wait... I am a little sad for Scott and Chris. They seem to be in a state of shock over the marriage and subsequent departure of their sister. I watched in awe this weekend as they served her by serving her guests. I saw them cry. I saw them hug her. I heard them tell her that they love her.

You know, this fatherhood thing really isn't so bad. I mean... it's really, really, hard. There is pain involved. Most of it is pleasure but when it hurts... man it's bad. I guess that's what "bittersweet" means. But over all I love being a dad. And now I want to be a great dad to two single sons and a married daughter. And I want to practice being a great father-in-law. It will take some time and some effort. But the dividends will be incredible. I don't care much about money. I am not too concerned about things. But today, during the reception, I have a thought. Almost every person that I love... nearly everyone close to me... was in that room. That, my friend, is satisfaction.