Father of the Bride

I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet, they fall in love, he buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say I do. I was wrong. That's getting married. A wedding is an entirely different proposition. I know. I've just been through one. Not my own, my daughter's. Annie Banks Mackenzie. That's her married name: Mackenzie. You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never have imagined. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. Then comes the day when she wants to get her ears pierced, and wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theater. From that moment on you're in a constant panic. You worry about her meeting the wrong kind of guy, the kind of guy who only wants one thing, and you know exactly what that one thing is, because it's the same thing you wanted when you were their age. Then, you stop worrying about her meeting the wrong guy, and you worry about her meeting the right guy. That's the greatest fear of all, because, then you lose her. It was just six months ago that that happened here. Just six months ago, that the storm broke.

Father of the Bride is one of my all time favorite movies.  You know the one, right...with Steve Martin?  This movie came out when I was in college.  I saw it at the one-movie-a-week Ephraim theater with my roommate Leslie.  She must've thought I was a little nuts when I see-sawed back and forth between uproarious laughter and sentimental tears throughout the entire movie.  But that movie made an impact on me, hit me pretty hard.  And I'm sure it was because, though I wasn't engaged at the time, I knew it was getting close.  Even then, the movie reminded me of my Dad.  Which became all the more humorous when I did actually get engaged and start planning a wedding...to find that my Dad was reacting in very similar ways to Steve Martin's character.  Oh, not to the same extremes, of course.  He didn't get arrested for stealing hot dog buns or anything like that.  But the decisions to be made of how many guests, where to hold the reception, the "Please don't make me wear a tux!!" plea, and how much everything was going to cost....mingled in with his emotions of losing his oldest daughter.  

Who presents this woman? This woman? But she's not a woman. She's just a kid. And she's leaving us. I realized at that moment that I was never going to come home again and see Annie at the top of the stairs. Never going to see her again at our breakfast table in her nightgown and socks. I suddenly realized what was happening. Annie was all grown up and was leaving us, and something inside began to hurt. 

 This quote from Father of the Bride makes me cry every single time of the countless times I have viewed the movie.  Thinking back....it was the night before I got married.  I was puttering around downstairs taking care of last minute items.  Taking a shower, setting out my clothes I was going to wear on the way to the temple the next day, making sure I had my new pearl earrings my parents had given me to wear with my wedding dress, etc.  On one pass of the countless back and forthing through the hall, I saw my parents coming down the stairs together.  My Dad lightly grabbed my arm to stop me from walking past.  And then, to my complete astonishment, he picked me up...all 19-years and 100 lbs of me...and carried me to my bedroom.  He set me down gently on my bed and pulled the covers up around my chin, tucking me in like I was a little girl again.  He kneeled on one side of my bed, my mom on the other and then he proceeded to give me a fathers blessing.  I don't remember the words of the blessing.  Only the feeling of love and protection.  And then when he was done, he wrapped his arms around me, and cried.  I'd never seen my Dad cry before.

Last night I saw Father of the Bride in a play version at Hale Centre Theatre.  And as I sat there I had a mix of emotions.  Thinking back to my own time as a bride, yes.  But also about my own first born daughter.  Rebekah turns 16 tomorrow.  I met Bryan when I was that age.  She's already got boys clamoring for dates, waiting anxiously.  Oh, a wedding is still a few years out, certainly...and if she doesn't get married when she is 19 like I did, well...I'm not going to be upset about that!  But it will come and seeming all too soon, is my guess.  And then we'll have another Father of the Bride situation at our house. 

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