Wedding bliss, or not

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I have done it, I have survived the unique experience of marrying off our second daughter. The road to the altar for all of us was pretty much like I expected and, in a way, it feels good to look back down the road on which we have just traveled, knowing I should never have to walk it again.

This wasn’t my first rodeo after marrying off another daughter seven years ago. I kind of knew how to navigate. I had a mental road map.

I once again realized, as older friends who have been through similar experiences warned me, when a daughter marries, the father in the situation has a simple role.

He is to keep the mouth shut in all situations. Even on expenses he simply doesn’t understand, grinning and bearing it is the best policy.

He is to follow orders when it comes to wedding attire and scheduling. He is to speak only when spoken to in reference to the pending nuptials. I am not ashamed to say that is exactly the routine I followed.

The mouth shut rule goes out the window for a brief moment when the person conducting the wedding asks who gives this woman to be married. I have two perspectives to that moment.

The first is when I give something away I don’t expect to get it back. Therefore, I am not sure I like the idea of giving away one of my children. Our doors are open for visits at all times and there are better words that could be used.

I have heard of fathers who refused to attend wedding ceremonies for that very reason. I’m fully aware of what the expression means, I just don’t necessarily like it.

My second thought is I have reached the finish line, now its someone else’s race to run. In my case, the race started when I obtained two children in my own marriage ceremony now 20 years ago. I became a parent. I don’t like the word “stepparent,” it implies something less than what the role really is.

The phase of raising children and growing along with young adults is now over.

For the most part, it’s been a good ride. Any parent of teenage girls who tells you there were no small bumps in the road lied, but we all survived those days.

My final evaluation of my wedding expense, confusion and chaos, it is a good thing to see your children happy as they begin their new lives.

It is good to add solid individuals to your family in the forms of sons-in-law. The potential of more grandchildren is exciting. It is a good time to celebrate good times with family.

Any fathers out there facing the experience of marrying a daughter in the near future, I feel your pain and my prayers are with you. When it’s all over you will have a good sense of accomplishment.

Tom Woerner is a reporter with The Daily Record. Reach him at 910-230-2038 or twoerner@mydailyrecord.com.

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