I told everyone that I would not cry and I did not. But that was my brave face in front of friends and family. It was a long walk down the aisle, about 100 yards from the garden to the wedding tree. Lauren and I chatted as we strolled toward our family and friends, but then emotion slammed into me like a freight train as I came near many beloved faces. What a beautiful place, the wildflowers Beck helped me sow and water, the wedding tree, my wife looking gorgeous, my son and daughter standing in places of honor, and my brother Greg the preacher waiting at the end of the aisle along with a young man waiting to take the hand and heart of my daughter.
I never once stressed or worried about this moment, the moment as a Dad when my legs might turn to jelly as I walked my daughter and gave her away. I did worry about the Father/Daughter dance afterward, because I don’t dance well. So Lauren and I stood in the garden alone after the bridesmaids had started their walk and I said, “Let’s dance”. And so we did, for thirty seconds, we danced in the garden alone. I knew Lauren was going to be ok, she was in good hands, not just with a young man who loved her, but in God’s hands. And so I danced with the ease of a Father who can do nothing more, except pray and love Beck and Lauren, and get out of the way.
God said to Abraham, go to a land that I will show you and your children will be too many to count, like stars or sand. I looked at the flowers we planted and watered and realized that one day the seeds of our families will be more numerous than a thousand flowers.
That’s why I was alright walking Lauren. We sat on the front row and watched Beck gaze at Lauren, perhaps because the angle was better, but maybe because he never seemed to look away from her, like he had seen the face of pure beauty. And I knew it was over for me, I was no longer Dad in the way I was before, the one she always counted on. It was him now. And it was ok.
So four parents surrounded them and I said to Lauren and Beck, “May your marriage be filled with joy and passion, may your best dances be on kitchen floors with pasta boiling over, may righteousness blow like fresh wind stirring the flowing locks of many children, may your romantic gazes be steady and everlasting, your longing for each other a taste of your eternal relationship with God, and may your happiness flow like a river until you sit on the porch getting old realizing that you would do it all over again.”
I’ll always remember the dance in the garden alone with my daughter. We danced later in front of everyone near the pool and we didn’t fall in, and it was good. Later we sang and danced on the deck to the song, “You make me want to shout!” The words and weight of all our lovely friends brought down the house…and the deck…the ledger board of the wood deck snapped and the dance floor sagged under the weight of celebration. That dance was good also. It’s the one everybody will talk about, “Remember when Beck and Lauren got married and we brought down the deck?”
But like Mary treasuring moments in her heart, I’ll always hold close the memory of a short impromptu dance in the garden with a beautiful young lady, who has a new name and husband, but will always be my lovely daughter. Thanks for dancing with me Lauren Nuk Nuk Peanut Noodles Martin, I love you!