Written to my daughter the night before her wedding almost two weeks ago.
Tonight on the eve of your wedding, I sit in my office alone, flooded with memories that began before you were born.
I never felt that I was ever well prepared to be a father; I suspect few men really do. But I cannot describe the thrill I felt in the delivery room when I discovered we had a daughter.
And so began a bittersweet journey for me.
Daughters allow fathers feel like the heroes we dreamt of being when we were little boys, with bath towel capes and baseball trading cards in the spokes of our bicycles. You bring out the best in us. The unspoken burden of daddy heroes is that one day, we may have to step aside for a younger hero. And so tomorrow I will.
The pangs of letting go began early, when you were still in your princess years. When you first went to kindergarten. I knew it was the first step from my kingdom into another. No one knew, but that day I cried.
There were other steps; eighth grade dances, junior prom, and high school graduation. On each of those days, no one knew but I cried.
On your move in day at college Tammy and I stood on the steps of your dorm after all of the furniture and clothes had been moved in and prayed for you. I went home and stood in your empty room. No one knew, but I cried.
When you finished college my heart soared with pride while it broke just a little more. I knew my little girl would no longer be living under my roof. No one knew, but I cried
Now that you are grown, I know you are ready for the next phase of your life. Tomorrow you will become a bride. I will step aside for your young hero. But I will ever be in the wings, ready to be a backup hero if you ever need one.
Tomorrow I will cry – and everyone will know.