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Home > Father Daughter Poem / Article > Article

Joy of Fatherhood:
A Three Year Old
and a Wedding

by Jim Knechtel

fatherhood--daughter flower girl
© Corbis. All rights reserved.

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 disaster?

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 wedding.

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 three year-old.

Fatherhood: I love family stuff.

Copyright ©1997
All rights reserved.

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