I wrote this post back in 2005 just before my little girl headed off to college. It may not be well written, but I am proud of it anyway. Go ahead and click the link, I will wait.
On Saturday that same little girl will get married. As you can guess she is no longer a little girl. She is a fine woman, a teacher. But little girls are special to their Daddies. She was my first child. I had never held a baby before she was born. I had never fed a baby a bottle, never changed a diaper. She did not come with an instruction manual.
Oh God, did I make mistakes. To me she was perfect. As she grew older I expected perfection. I tried to be a good father. I have never worked at anything so hard in my life.
Now there is another man in her life. In all honesty, if I had searched the world over I could not have found a better husband for her. He loves her completely. He is her friend. He is caring and supportive. He is a good man. I wish them the greatest joy and happiness possible.
When she was three all my daughter wanted in the world was for me to walk her to Dorner's Park so I could push her in the swings. Saturday I will walk her down the aisle. The new love of her life will be waiting at the end of that walk. I am sure several times in the next days the intervening two decades will play themselves in my mind, a sad and wonderful movie. I will remember birthdays and dance recitals. Christmases past and school plays, band concerts and bike rides will swirl in my brain. A few tears may fog my vision for a moment or two.
Saturday will be a joyous day. My heart will be bursting with pride. Doesn't every parent wish for their kids to be happy? I am told I am expected to say a few words at the reception. I do not know what to say. How do you sum up your thoughts about your daughter and her new husband in a minute or so? How do you tell a room of family, friends and strangers what your daughter means to you? How do you express your happiness when tears are streaming down your cheeks?
Someday she will have kids of her own. I can only hope she remembers her Mom and me and acknowledges we did our best. If the way she turned out is any indication, we did OK. Then she will gaze at her little baby and ask, "Where is the owners manual".
Godspeed and happiness Baby.