I recently attended a wedding, close family friend whose daughter was getting married. Having spent 4 days visiting the wedding house and the lead up to the big day, I observed for the first time the emotions involved, those small moments of fear and happiness…..so when I got home after the wedding, I sat down and started writing about all those things I saw over the past few days…..not having a daughter, I guess I’ll never know the exact feeling….
“I know it’s coming, but I don’t talk about it, I try not to show it, show too much affection.
The house is beginning to get full, people begin to arrive, near, far and the atmosphere is warming up.
I’ve got things to organise I tell myself, tables out, chairs out, stick on the heaters, it’s a cold evening.
I know it’s coming, but I don’t show it, I want to, to hold and keep, but I can’t.
The evening is in full flow now, everyone is enjoying themselves, I manage a dance or two. The dance floor opens up rivalries, this is a warm up to the big day, I know that.
She looks stunning, all grown up, all excited, of what challenges lie ahead. I gaze around, try not to lock eyes in case I give it away, smile, smile, everyone else is. The evening goes well, time to sleep, well try to, I can’t.
I know it’s coming.
Morning and afternoon much the same, preparation for the evening, another custom to fulfil, another blessing to bestow, another reminder, only one day remains. Mind casts back to her younger days, I was so protective and it paid off, so proud I feel. Nudge for reminder, where did the mind get lost, the custom, yes, need to complete.
People start flowing back in, I am tired, legs ache a little but it’s nice to have a full house, those rivalries are back in full force now, know exactly where to pick up from, it’s almost like the second leg of a cup match, semi final with a place in the final up for grabs.
Today she looks a little sad, I know she knows it’s coming, I see her looking around at the walls, almost as if it’s the first time she has seen them. Funny how not being long in a place, how quickly you can get attached, it’s the every minute of your wonderful life with your family you have spent that does that and that’s quite some achievement.
Finishing off now, got an early appointment with the inevitable tomorrow.
The morning seems to fly by, things taken care of but I am still running around like a headless chicken, bag in hand, check, money in pocket, check, know what you are doing, check.
She can’t stop crying, my wife, it’s still early on the morning, I hold back the tears, I know it’s coming.
So many functions I have been to, so many I have seen, so why do I tremble when asked to tie a knot between her and him? I tie it tight, I want to give instructions to him, but I hold back, would I be showing too much affection now when she needs to remain focused? Blessings are taken, I pray for something else, watch over her when I can’t – how will it be?
Later in the day, I listen to the speeches, so many nice things are said, some humour, some emotion, even a song, I didn’t expect a song. She is full of emotion, I step back from the crowd, find a corner and the tears start flowing, the time is near, I know it, I can picture it even now. I look away, it’s not fair but it’s the way. I am spotted but it’s too late, I need a shoulder to rest my head, it’s building up now, I know it’s very near now.
Time check, I am standing behind two chairs, I look around and everyone’s quite, those same faces that were laughing, smiling, competing on the dance floor, no one locks eyes with me but everyone’s looking at me. There she is, she looks tired, so am I. My stomach is churning, it’s grinding, like the first day at school, like my first job interview, only I know the outcome here. She sits down, looks back at me and sees my eyes filling up with tears, like a damn waiting to burst. Customs take over, I know how long this all takes, but it’s much faster then other times, slow down, take your time, sit here longer if you want. My wife breaks into a rush of tears, she’s loud, I recall this but it soon quietens down, or I stop listening.
You are not going to be there anymore, I can’t ask for help, a general chat, how about work, tell you about work. This is the hardest part, to let go, it’s not fair but then I guess I didn’t understand that when I got married, why my wife was so sad.
They say daughters are a few days guests.”