Warts and All

[Note: My younger daughter, Brianna, who is often identified as my LYE (Lovely Young Editor), was married on 5 August 2017. For those not aware, this means I now have two sons in-law named Michael.Below is the speech I delivered to Brianna and her husband Michael.]

First of all, I would like to thank EVERYONE who came today to celebrate this wonderful event; as well as those who are with us in spirit today. As you celebrate the event with us today, WE celebrate YOU!

It would be VERY cliché for me to say that it has taken me nearly 26 years to get to this point today. The truth is, this is not my first wedding rodeo. In 2004, I had the privilege of attending a wedding where my daughter, Shayna, was a bridesmaid. My heart was in my throat. It was not because the bride was so beautiful; Although, she certainly was (and still is). [By pure happenstance, I was facing said bride when I said that.] But more because, when I saw Shayna walking down the aisle with a bouquet of flowers, I realized I was getting a preview of my future. Talk about a smack in the face moment. BAM!

Fast forward 8 years later. There I was; walking Shayna down the aisle. I KNEW that this event would repeat with Brianna. I just didn’t know WHEN (or with WHOM).

It has been said that, for a woman to meet her prince, she must kiss a lot of frogs. To that end, over the years, Brianna introduced me to a frog or two (in various stages of amphibian  development).As a typical Dad, most were regarded as mere tadpoles encroaching upon my pond. So, when young Mr. Graney leapt into my pond and shook my hand, I am sure he said something to the extent of: “It’s nice to meet you”. I’ll be honest, all I heard was: “RIBBIT!”

I gave him the usual round of Dad interview questions: Do you have a job? Do you have any kids? Do you have an arrest record? With each question, he would look at Brianna as if to ask: “Is he joking?” Brianna would stare back at Michael as if to say: “NO! He isn’t!”

While I DID pay attention to the way Michael behaved in my presence, what has stuck with me since I have met him was an incident I am not sure he knows I witnessed. He was visiting with Brianna at the house. My grandson,Taelor-James, was being a typical 2-year-old (at the time). By the time, Taelor-James went to bed it was clear by Brianna’s facial expressions that Taelor-James had challenged Brianna’s patience. My baby girl was WORN OUT by her baby boy. You could see it in her eyes and in her disheveled hair (that she was ready to tear out). As Brianna plopped onto the couch, Michael stared at her and said: “YOU look WONDERFUL!” With a simple, sincere compliment you could see Brianna’s stress simply melt away from her spirit. It became another hit you in the face moment. BAM! Those two young’uns are  IN LOVE. My daughter is in love… WITH A FROG.  And, the frog croaks his love in return. How deeply you ask? KNEE DEEP (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

It was clear as day that Brianna had found her prince. Not long after, the engagement ring came. Once again, I was hit in the face. BAM! My daughter is engaged to a man named MICHAEL. Déjà vu! As amusing as that coincidence, I know, beyond doubt that just like the Michael that came before him, he would move Heaven and Earth for my daughter. Even MORE important his bond with my grandson is nothing short of awesome.

Michael, forget that you have been blessed with a tremendous gift that comes in a bundle: Brianna and Taelor-James. That gift comes not from me but, from God Himself. I know that you won’t squander that gift (lest you get thrown back into the pond.

Brianna, when you were just about a year old, you were in the hospital at a time when you were just learning to walk. One day in the hospital, you walked right into my arms and hugged me tightly. Today, I walked you toward the arms of your prince. Since that day in the hospital, I knew that I was eventually going to have to let you go. It’s not as easy as I have made it look.

I’m not sure you two understand the magnitude of what has transpired today. Someday though, mark my words, it will hit you in the face. BAM!

Michael, welcome to the family pond. You are now part of a bigger circle – WARTS AND ALL!

Congratulations and blessings to the two of you.

 

Curse You, Dr. Yerokay!!!

Author’s note: This piece was one that I wrote specifically for the purpose of entering a writing competition. I did not win that competition but I wanted to share the piece with you anyway. I hope you enjoy it. – PSM

I became a parent for the first time back in 19…well, it was some time back anyway. Like most expectant fathers, I bought a bunch of books that I thought would prepare me for this forthcoming event. I mean, I easily spent close to $100 in books. Those books might as well have been released as a set of several volumes entitled: Some Books That Make You Think You Know What’s Coming and Make You Feel Good About Yourself. Someone should have just typed the following on a sheet of paper for 25 cents each: “YOU DON’T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST CLUE WHAT IS COMING TO YOU! SAVE YOUR BOOK MONEY! YOUR CHILD WILL NEED IT MORE!” Then again, it is quite possible that such a truth was written and prepared for circulation. I suspect that a gang of leather-clad-book-writing child psychologists lead by Eyemokay Yerokay, Ph.D. found the author and beat the truth telling tar out of him.

Once my child arrived, my confidence and courage was quickly replaced by changing and crying. Occasionally, my child required more change and cried louder than I did. This little soul turned my world upside down, drained my wallet, sucked away my sleep cycle, and had me second guessing myself day after day. I endured all of these trials and ultimately reacted in the same way that 95% of parents in my situation have reacted throughout history —I had more children.

During the span of just over 5 years, I was blessed with 4 children: 2 boys and 2 girls. I decided at this point that my Biblical quiver was full. Besides, a tied score of boys and girls is hard to beat. In the years that followed, I made multiple trips to the emergency room, stopped many sibling wrestling matches, endured enough contractions of chicken pox to make me and my wife start clucking uncontrollably, and retrieved one child from the roof of our house. On the other hand, I have also attended many choir concerts, received many exhibits of child created art, and watched my kids have the time of their lives playing on a dining room table that I coated with shaving cream.

All these years later, I can tell you my worst error — I blinked. By this coming autumn, one daughter will be married. Another daughter will deliver our first grandchild. Between the two daughters alone, I know I have many grandparental adventures ahead of me. I also know this: “I DON’T HAVE THE SLIGHTEST CLUE WHAT IS COMING TO YOU! I’M SAVING MY BOOK MONEY! MY GRANDCHILDREN WILL NEED IT MORE!”