Joy of Fatherhood:
by Jim Knechtel
A Three Year Old
and a Wedding
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It was a day you hope to only read about. A day that you always thought
happens to someone else. Today, we were that someone else.
Our nephew was going to get married. The plans were taking shape and
all were happy. My wife and I were excited that our two year old would
be a flower girl a day before her third birthday. We have only a few candidates
in our family whose marital condition would offer our little girl the chance
to be one of those fresh flowers that add unlimited charm to a wedding
party. No sooner had the betrothed made the announcement then my wife had
Jennifer in a white lace dress. One tends to forget that the parents' dream
can lose something in the translation to three-year-old-ese.
How could such an innocent event normally blanketed in joy be so ripe for
For months my wife urged our little girl to "play
wedding". A head band and a straw basket were all the props needed
for the training. Little by little the idea of walking down the aisle took
form. She was ready. Friday night rehearsal went well. Jennifer had mastered
the art of walking and smiling. Everyone was melting on the spot. We went
home confident that she would steal the show the next day.
The plans were carefully laid out. The Wedding was to take place in
a municipality some 30 kilometers East of Vancouver. The trip normally
took 45 minutes, but this weekend coincided with the Abbotsford Air Show.
Only 60,000 other people would be traveling the same roadway. Traffic is
historically bad on this weekend. No problem. All this was taken into consideration.
One should never over-plan an event. The day held the promise of a true
July scorcher. To add to the temperature of the day, a dump truck making
a delivery of top soil managed to remove part of our new fence and gate.
And for a touch of comic relief, the VCR repairman's only words of advice
about our ailing machine was to "walk away. Good day so far, Jennifer
is still in a good mood.
In order that Jennifer resembles a little girl and not something from
a Stephen King novel, she needs her nap. Traffic was uncharacteristically
mild. Our luck was improving. For about an hour we drove through the countryside
as we approached our destination while she slept. Temperatures outside
were in the low 30's Celsius. As she slept, we thought we could sneak a
milkshake from a drive thru. This girl has McDonalds radar. We no sooner
stopped at the order window than she woke up. My wife let her have some
of her chocolate milkshake. As we pulled away from the store something
sounded like it hit the underside of the engine hood. Lights started to
flash on the dash then a solid red light under the battery indicator. We
could still move but for how long? A frantic search for a garage didn't
help. We now had less than two hours until the wedding. At that point Jennifer
exclaimed in a small voice " Oh, oh!" The chocolate shake was
now filling her car seat. Strike Three and Four.
We made it to house of the groom's mother. Her husband is an amateur
mechanic and general super handyman. One look told him the fan belt had
gone. Expert design engineering ensures that no repair is manageable in less than
two hours. Then the father of the groom decided to
take a shower. It was now one and a half hours before the start of the
Our good fortune soon spread to the relatives. My wife's mother
phoned to inform the household that "Grampa's car has packed it in"
on the freeway off-ramp. Again the poor father of the groom foregoes his
shower to save the in-laws. He returns with a car full and makes a fast
dash for the shower. It is now less than one hour before show time.
A cab is called to ferry the excess relatives over to the church. We
do our version of an Indy road race to arrive five minutes before the curtain.
It's okay, Jennifer is still calm and happy. Everyone starts to line up.
Bridesmaids are in line, the bride is ready, the church is full. The temperature
inside would put an industrial microwave to shame. At this point Jennifer
turns, her eyes well up, takes off the ring of flowers from her head and
buries her face into my trousers. No amount of pleading, coaxing, begging
will convince her to release my leg. The dream of an emotional bliss, wrapped
in white lace and flowers falls to the ground to join with her tears. The
procession moves off down the aisle. Jennifer's grand entrance is replaced
by a quiet walk to Mommy during the ceremony. At that point, she leans
over the back of the church bench and announces to the congregation, "
I sad--Daddy angry!" Game, Set, Match.
What may seem a small feat to us, can be monumental in the eyes and
heart of a child . One's own dreams should be filtered through eyes of a
Fatherhood: I love family stuff.
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