My memory of the morning of Girlwonder’s wedding is a blur. It’s a blessed blur to be certain, but a blur nonetheless.
I recall a sunny morning, the brightest blue sky, and a sticky heat that settled over the day like a warm blanket. In the house, we were enveloped in a flurry of hair spray, bridesmaid bouquets and silky dresses.
The only male presence in our bubble of estrogen that morning was Mr. Wonderful. He was working on his father of the bride speech, sipping coffee on the porch while sitting with the dogs.
The birds were chirping, the dogs were panting (I told you it was HOT), and females fluttered in and out of the house. Most of the time they came to say “the power is out again!”
Running air conditioning and a host of hairdryers simultaneously taxes an electrical system. I imagine writing a heartfelt speech under these conditions must also tax the human one.
At one point I kept trying to find an unoccupied space in the house in order to slip on my pantyhose (remember those?). Every single room in our house was spoken for.
I kept bumping into one beautiful young woman after another, each getting ready in a different space. The matron of honor’s husband was downstairs. He was in charge of handbags I think?
I know he definitely had extra ties and cologne at the ready. A videographer was crouched in the hall. It takes a village after all.
Throughout this chaos, our daughter was sitting barefoot in a bathrobe on the porch. Relaxed and happy, she was eating bagels with the woman who has been her best friend since middle school.
You would never know in that moment that she was a bride-to-be. They could have been little girls just playing on the porch.
From early on, GirlWonder knew which room she wanted to use to prepare for her wedding day. It was not her childhood bedroom. It was, instead, the upstairs sitting room.
It is the privilege of old house living to have rooms not often found in modern floor plans. I suspect it was intended to be a sewing room way back in 1904.
Girlwonder had used it as a large closet and dressing room from her pre-teen years on. It had earlier been the nursery we brought her home to as a newborn. This room is quaint and quirky and bathed in sunlight and memories.
In this bright and sunny room, the bride-to-be was fluffed and fussed over.
A dear friend, who is her beautician, made a morning house call to ensure that every hair was perfect. Her best friend flew in from Florida to serve as matron of honor — and head cosmetologist.
To be honest, every single thing felt perfect.
The photographer padded around the house barefoot and relaxed. Everyone immediately felt better in her presence. She was clearly a pro at these things. She caught me as she was sizing up the perfect spot to hang the wedding dress for the “details” shot. She asked me where the dress would be hung. I waved my hand and said, breezily, “wherever the bride decides. Once she chooses, just let her dad know and he will run up with his drill and hang the hook for her.”
The photographer stared at me, incredulous. After a pause she laughed and said “my dad would NEVER.” I get that, I really do. Some men seem to make it their life’s mission to never allow a hole to be put in a smooth wall.
Now here Mr. Wonderful was offering to do so on demand. Here’s the thing — for his baby girl Mr. Wonderful probably would have taken out that whole wall if she had thought that might be a good idea. Such is the power of fatherhood.
It is standing back on a very emotional and special day and letting the whirlwind happen. It is running up and down the basement stairs a dozen times to turn the breakers back on. It is standing also at the ready to make things just a little more “perfect” if that is within his power. It is public speaking when you would rather fall through the floor. It is walking your baby girl down the aisle and handing her off to another man while praying that he will love, honor and cherish her as you do.
Funny aside, Mr. Wonderful started his speech, noting that he never imagined his daughter’s wedding day when he and I met back in 1992.
From our chance meeting in a hole-in-the-wall club, the years would fly by in a flurry of love and laughter. Then one day, all too soon, he would find himself being thankful for yet another hole in the wall.
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