I knew something was up just by the way her voice sounded on the phone — Saturday afternoon call, how ya doin’, Dad? Fine, how about you? Then: “I’ve got news.” I knew immediately what the news was going to be because Kaitlyn and Andrew have been together for four years and seem like true soulmates on all levels, but still, to hear your daughter say the words “I’m engaged” is one of the most profound moments I’ve ever experienced as a father. The tears came instantly — I don’t when I’ve ever known tear ducts to go from zero to sixty that fast. Even now, the morning after, writing the words “I’m engaged” just made it happen again. Kait — I’m sooooooo happy for you, not just in the routine “it’s nice you’re getting married” way but in a deeper way because I really do think you have handled your life, and your relationships, so well — and the relationship I’ve watched you build with Andrew is really the kind of relationship that has a chance of lasting a lifetime in a world where that is increasingly rare.
Finding a true soulmate is a rare thing. Lots of people go through their entire lives never quite doing it. They settle, one way or another, or they make a bad judgment that they later regret. I don’t think either of those are going to apply to you. No one knows for sure what the future holds and there are no guarantees about anything in life, but you are off to a great start — the teacher and the policeman, how cool is that?
Last night, after I got the news, Rena and I went out to dinner and I was marveling at how the news kept reverberating within me. I kept saying, well, this doesn’t happen every day (I lived lotsa years and it never happened once before today in fact)….but what is it about the father-daughter bond that is so unique, and so powerful? All of a sudden, in that one flash of a moment, I knew where all those cliche images of the wreck of a father giving away his daughter come from. I’m going to have to really be on my game to be able to hold it together when the moment comes that I do the father giving away his daughter thing at the wedding. Damn! There go the tear ducts again!
Anyway, while I’m wallowing in this — and loving every minute of it — it’s worth a replay of a little music video I made for Kaitlyn on her 19th birthday. The song is “Ithaka”, which I wrote back when I was in college and still feels relevant to me today — and more importantly, has a message for anyone starting out on a journey, and Kait, that’s what you’re doing! Hope this doesn’t embarrass you too much, but then that’s what Dad’s do, right? Love you!