Dads & Daughters

Katherine just sort of dropped into my ministry…I don’t remember ever being introduced to her or her first night at the middle school meeting or whatever. She was just there.

And she stayed there. She went from middle school through when I hired her as an intern years later. I can’t think of a two-week stint that went by that we didn’t at least exchange an e-mail.

She asked me to be a part of her wedding ceremony and that experience was enjoyable in every respect…but that isn’t what I want to talk about today.

Because, see, her dad is knocked out by her. He couldn’t love his daughter more if he tried. And he tries. So, since I have those same proclivities, in the past, I leaned on him for advice about daughters. I do lean on him for advice about daughters. I will lean on him for advice about daughters. There are others in my orbit that I lean on as well, but I lean on Dan more than most because I’ve noticed we look at life the same way in so many respects. I think every dad should have folks they trust to lean on for wisdom & insight. I’m not to proud to say I can use every bit I can get.

Anyway, because I was privvy to inside scoop on their relationship, I watched this particular father of a daughter like a hawk over the course of the weekend. Granted, I had a lot of stuff of my own to do and stayed out of their way. But I paid attention. Just observed from a distance.

Because what I’ve gathered is that the days are long but the years are short (first person I ever heard say the quote: Ma Deb Stevenson–maybe it’s hers, maybe it isn’t.). It seems like just yesterday I was sitting in one of those cool glider/rockers at the hospital holding Kid1. And there have been plenty of moments since then that something happened and I flashed back to that cool glider/rocker moment and wondered how the heck did it go so fast.

And, so while Katherine was as beautiful as a bride can be and the groom was excited as a groom should be and the parents were as happy as parents can be and it was a truly joyful and happy occasion for everybody involved…

…well, the music changed, the mother of the bride stood (followed by the rest of the family & friends), the doors at the back of the church opened and I could see dad & daughter’s silhouette in the back of the room. My thoughts were with my friend Dan.

What a cool moment that must be.
What it must be like to have confidence the man you prayed for your daughter to walk through life with was truly God’s provision.
What he must be feeling and thinking escorting the girl he invested so much into and how proud he must be of the woman she’s become.

And then you get here:

That moment where you hear the Biblical definition of marriage from Genesis 2. The first order of business is to leave father and mother. And that’s what’s about to happen in the photo above. The groom’ll say “I do.” The bride’ll say, “I do.” Then the dad’ll say, by way of blessing the couple, “Her mother and I do.”

Then, he’ll kiss her on the cheek. He’ll shake his new son-in-law’s hand.

And, then, he’ll, in common vernacular, give her away. Professionally, that means that he has just transferred Biblical authority of his daughter to her new husband.



Before that ceremony, there was a video slideshow of photos of the couple from birth to now. There was a picture of his two year old daughter sitting in his lap about to kiss him on the nose. 5 minutes after the crowd saw that photo, Dan gave her away. My guess is that if I were to ask Dan, it would feel like the 25 years felt like about 5 minutes long.

And, yes, they got a great son-in-law. Their Christmases from here on out will be loud and fun and all that jazz.

And, yes, dad danced with his daughter at the reception.

And, yes, dad toasted the new couple. His daughter teared up. So did he. I got it. I get it.

And, yes, it was a truly joyful day and lots of fun. I was glad to be a part of it, too.

But, just know, Dan, that I think I’ve got to schedule a lunch for the two of us in a decade or so (give or take a few years–hopefully more on the “give” side than the “take” side, right?)…

…because I think this is another one of those things I’m going to need somebody who has been there to walk me through it. Because only dads of daughters can get this one, man. It’s a very exclusive and elite club, and we have to stick together.

And, maybe we should make that a ballgame so I can take the whole 9 innings to pick your brain. I’ll treat…both tickets and beer/hot dogs, Dan.

That might be the best $100 bucks I could spend.

(photo courtesy: Lisa Loniewsky)