Sunday, June 2, 2013

Father of the Bride...My Father's Day Tribute

Daddy’s Girl Becomes “Mrs.”

So as I share the plans for my daughter Brittany’s wedding, I hear from lots of folks who are enjoying the process – from family and friends to all our readers taking a vicarious stroll with us through weddingland. We moms tend to have such a romantic vision of weddings and remember our wedding day as (hopefully) one of those happiest days on record.

As future mother of the bride, I can tell you planning a daughter’s wedding ranks right up there with my wedding day. It may be even better. After all, I’m not facing the life changing decisions. I’m planning a party!

I should say “we” are planning a party – my husband Doug and I. Therein lies the problem with my “party” philosophy. While both Doug and I adore Brittany’s fiancé, Daddy isn’t quite ready to hand over his baby quite yet. I feel it too, but it’s becoming clear to me that “daddy’s little girl” is a cliché for a reason.

We recently reviewed a proof for the Save the Date cards. I was going on about how cute they were, and all Doug could focus on were the words: The future Mr. & Mrs…. I thought he was going to come to tears. He wondered why we were changing her name before we had to.

That brought me to tears. So much for a quick review of some cute stationary.

Ditto for a casual movie night. A few months ago, the three of us watched “Father of the Bride” together. Doug could hardly sit through the last scenes (spoiler alert: daughter happily marries and leaves home). I cried. Brittany laughed.

That special dad - daughter bond has been such a treasure for me as I’ve watched Doug and Brittany’s relationship grow and deepen over the years. Dads have that protective thing going on, and girls want so much to please their fathers.

Doug and Brittany are so much alike. They’re both very analytical and think in black and white terms. Doug’s an Engineer – enough said there. They literally finish each other’s sentences. Doug may be willing to share her, but give her away…?

To further complicate things for my poor husband, he is the last male “Hyde” in his family. Once Brittany marries and changes her name, he’s it.

We had a strange preview of the end of the Hyde line years ago. In 1980, Doug and I took a road trip from Oklahoma City to San Francisco. We made it to the Wharf where it so happens a street named Hyde ends. To make it clear, there’s a sign that says “End Hyde.” Of course we took a picture of Doug under the sign.

Given it was the 80s, we were cell phone free and out of touch. While we were enjoying the Wharf that day, we had no idea Doug’s father had had a sudden heart attack and passed away. That End Hyde sign began putting on layers of meaning. Doug Hyde really was nearing the end of Hyde – one day.

So “one” day is imminent. Brittany will change her name, and Daddy’s not ready. Her kids won’t be Hydes. So Dad’s gonna have to deal. Thus far dealing has meant frustration, tears, and even a resistance to making progress on those wedding plans.

It’s no surprise those Save the Date cards got a big edit. We kept the cuteness and took out the reference to the new “Mr. and Mrs.” What I’ve realized however is that the Save the Date cards issue may just be the beginning.

We had to give the photographer a deposit – Doug wasn’t available. We had to commit to the venue – Doug was too busy. I took care of these tasks on my own. Grouchily. But now I realize he’s not slacking off, it’s his way of avoiding the sting of Brittany leaving.

We still have almost a year until the wedding. I may need every second of that time to bring Dad around. It’s such a profound adjustment for all of us. Doug’s at least brave enough to start dreading the hand-off months before The Day. He may be on the right path – deal with the angst before-the-fact so he can walk down the aisle with a sincere smile.

It might do me some good to ponder the mom – daughter relationship sooner rather than later for fear of being a complete mess the week of the wedding. Adding a to-do: buy a supply of waterproof mascara.

Parenthood – the joys, the tears. They start at birth and end…?

Until July – and our favorite BEST OF issue! – happy parenting.


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