Last Sunday, April 27th, I went to a wedding. This was only the second wedding I have attended since Lindsay passed away. Last year I went to my nephew Aaron’s wedding and last Sunday I went to Andrew’s, my other nephew. I think the world of these two young men and would have never missed their special day. I am so happy for the both of them and the spouses they have chosen to spend the rest of their lives with.
The venue last Sunday was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, The Oaks at Salem in Apex NC. The grounds, the pond, and the feeling of joy that surrounded the entire ceremony was majestic. Andrew and Lauren asked that Kelli and I be the greeter’s that welcomed all their other guest to their special day. Andrew also made a special request that I wear my pink blazer, he and Lauren wanted me to dress, should I say, a little brighter than the norm. I was more than happy to oblige their request. With our greeting responsibility complete, Kelli, my son Jarrett and I took our seats for the ceremony. After sitting for a few minutes I could see Andrew and the preacher walking along the pond and I could not hold back the tears. I was sitting right behind my brother, Brian, and I was trying to imagine what he was thinking, what was going though his mind. I am sure it was thoughts of worry, happiness, concern, pride and love for his son and the union Andrew and Lauren were minutes away from completing. The reason I am sure is because that is what I would be feeling if it was Jarrett walking beside that pond. I thought of Jarrett and the day, I hope, he takes that walk. The day he stands before God, family and friends and pledges his love for that special person. We sat as the wedding party began their entrance, they were family and friends of both the bride and groom. Aaron was the best man and their sister Mary was one of the bridesmaids. Once the last coupled attendants made their way to the beautiful arbor where the couple would say their “I do’s” the music for the bride’s entrance began. Everyone stood and turned to watch as the huge rustic wooded doors opened for the bride to make her appearance. I turned to look at Andrew, I wanted to see his reaction, his expression when her saw Lauren. It was no less then I expected. You could see the love he has for this wonderful young lady. As Lauren and her father made their way down the aisle I began to think, of Lindsay. My initial reaction was to rub my ring, a ring that I had custom made with Lindsay’s fingerprint itched into the surface, the diamonds from her earrings mounted on each side and “My Lindsay Lou” engraved on the inside of the band. Anytime I want to feel extra close to her, the ring is my connection to her. As I turned to watch Lauren take those finial steps with her father I could see the glow of love and happiness. There are two things that made the top five list of “Things I will never get to do” when Lindsay passed away and one was about to happen. The question, “Who gives this women in marriage?” One day I will get to sit right where my brother has sat, the father of the groom, full of hope for my son’s future and happiness, full of pride for the man he has become, but I will never get to take that walk and answer that question. There were as many tears of joy as there were sadness, because I know deep down inside, Lindsay was there with us, just as she was for Aaron’s wedding. When the ceremony was over and Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Benton turned to face their family and friends for the first time it was true happiness and love that shined through their smiles.
We made our way from the ceremony location to the reception area and mingled with family and met new friends. It was nice to be surrounded by family from both mine and Brian’s side as well as Julie’s, Brian’s wife. Jarrett, Kelli and I were at a table with several of Andrews friends. It was a joy to sit and talk to them about there accomplishments and plans for the future. It gives me hope for this world that there are good, young people out there. Jarrett, being a liberal arts major, had a lot to discuss with all of our table guest. I believe all of them had something to do with music, acting, or production. On our table each and every plate had a hand written note. Andrew and Lauren penned personal messages to each guest they had invited respectfully. I am not going to share what Andrew wrote to me but, I will tell you, it touched my heart deeply and confirmed what a loving, caring young man he is. The D.J. announced the newly married couple and they were to have their very first dance together as husband and wife. It was enchanting, their smiles for each other were endless, loving and sincere. As I sat and watched this young couple dance into their future I knew what was coming next, the second item on the top five list, the father daughter dance. When the D.J. announced for Lauren and her father to make their way to the dance floor my heart was torn in so many different directions. I was so happy for Lauren and her dad to have this very special moment in time, this time to start a memory for the rest of their lives. This time when a father and daughter share the spot light and humbly share their feelings for each other, with their family, with a single dance. The song Lauren chose for this special dance was Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella.” I have to admit I don’t believe I have ever heard this song before, but I can guarantee, I will never forget it. They danced through the first few verses and then broke out into a medley of fast, hip hop-ish type songs to showcase their true dancing talent. At the end they danced to the last verse Cinderella, which touched me the most.
“So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
‘Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t want to miss even one song
‘Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she’ll be gone”
I never had the chance to dance with Lindsay and I never will while I am still here on this earth, but I am looking forward to the day I get to have my first father daughter dance. In my heart I know it will be beautiful, with a heavenly angelic choir singing. My advice to any father that has a daughter, dance with her. I don’t care how old she is or how old you are, dance. It does not matter if she is embarrassed, she will thank you one day, dance. Dance when she least expects it, but dance. Dance in the street, in the house, dance in a ballroom, dance at a ballgame, dance in the middle of Times Square, but dance. Dance with her now because you never know when that clock will strike midnight and she will be gone. Weather you present her in marriage to the man she loves or God takes her from this world before you expect it, dance before she is gone.
Thank you Kelli, Jarrett, Mom, Dad, Brian, Julie, Andrew, Lauren, Aaron, Mikayla, Mary and everyone else in my family for all your support. I love each one of you in my own way.
God bless you Andrew, Lauren, Aaron and Mikayla. May your future’s be bright, your laughter be long and your memories be sweet.