This past weekend my nephew Dave married his love Laura. It was a beautiful wedding and a fabulous family celebration! Relatives I hadn’t seen in a while were in attendance and new friendships were formed with Laura’s family. Phenomenal weather, beautiful ceremony, fun reception – all around great day! Our granddaughter Charlise was the Flower Girl. Of course Deb and I were proud and pleased to see her be part of the wedding ceremony. And while my heart was over-flowing with emotions – my nephew getting married; my beautiful granddaughter; recollections of my own wedding (centuries ago) – I couldn’t help but feel a little sadness, too. You see our son Tyson, Charlise’s father, wasn’t able to be with us on Saturday. Tyson is in the Air Force and is currently stationed in Germany awaiting orders for Korea. He’ll be home on leave in November but needless to say, he couldn’t be with us at Dave and Laura’s wedding. So it was bittersweet watching his little girl walking down the aisle knowing that her Daddy was in Germany alone. Such is the life of a military man – sacrifice.
Fortunately our daughter Bess, our son-in-law Travis, our son Blake and his girlfriend Julia were with us. And each of them seemed to step in for Tyson when the need arose. Before the wedding when Charlise was getting a little ‘antsy’ her Uncle Blake amused her and kept her ever-joyful. Her Aunt Bess helped her with last minute adjustments to her dress/hair/flowers. All of them doted on her and made her feel like the center of attention (and at times she seemed to be). Between the wedding and reception our family along with my niece and her fiancé went to a local restaurant where Charlise was treated as a princess by all – even the wait staff. She was beaming!
Later while I was dancing with Charlise at the reception I noticed Bess and Travis and Blake and Julia all eagerly awaiting their turn to dance with her. Her Aunt and Uncles were proxy Daddies on Saturday and Charlise never lacked for attention or love the entire day. Did they do this for Charlise or Ty? I’m sure that they didn’t give it that much thought. It’s just what they do. Our kids (and the ones they love) have an extraordinary capacity for caring. Debbie and I have made lots of mistakes (well mostly me) but one thing I am sure that we did right along the way was to teach our children how to love. How to give. How to care. And on Saturday my heart nearly burst with pride for the way they ‘loved’, ‘cared for’ and ‘gave to’ Tyson in loving, caring and giving to his daughter. He may not have been there to share in the joy of the day but he can rest assured that his siblings were there for him. It’s just the way they’re made – from love.