All things considered, she should have said no.
After all, that’s essentially what I trained her to do.
My oldest daughter got engaged last night.
She has fallen deeply and passionately in love with a man who did everything I never did.
Born in 1985, by the look on her face lately, you’d think her life began only a couple years ago.
I don’t know all the circumstances about how they met, how their relationship progressed or how he proposed to her last night, but I knew she’d begun getting past her past when she first called to introduce me to him several months ago.
“Hi Dad, are you gonna be home Monday?”
“Yeah honey, what’s up?”
“We wanted to come over and see you.”
“We? Who’s ‘we?’”
“Me and the man I’m probably gonna marry.”
Since then, I knew my time to pass the baton was coming.
You see, I didn’t run my part of the relay very well.
I provided her with many things she needed. I always loved her and I did a reasonably good job to instill in her a few good things as she grew up. Regretfully though, I also dished out betrayal, disloyalty and pain in doses that should have killed her.
How she could ever trust another man again after the beating she took from me has, for many years, been perhaps my single biggest concern as an old and graying father.
A diet of lies and deceit, my contributions to her young life have been poisonous to her soul. The one who was supposed to have modeled what to look for in a man who could take her from my arms and into the rest of her life intact, was nothing short of tragic.
It would take a miracle to undo all those obstacles I had erected.
And a guy named Ryan.
Redemption is an amazing thing. It beats all odds. It defies logic. It crosses lines no one else can and slips through when nobody is watching. Then suddenly, it appears and presents itself for the taking…or leaving.
My daughter is a remarkable woman. Against the odds, she has emerged resilient, tender and everything a dad like me could ever hope for in a daughter.
It’s the final leg.
I have since picked up the pace as best as an old man can to make up for lost time.
“Hey Ryan, how’s it goin.”
“It’s good. I’m not sure of how to do this, though. I don’t know the protocol and such, but I love your daughter and I want to marry her. I really would like to have your blessing, though.”
“Ryan, any man who can put a smile back on her face after what I’ve done…and keep it there this long… deserves the prize. You have my blessing.”
I’m glad she could say yes.
I’m passing it on to you, Ryan.
Make her happy for the rest of her life.
Because life means so much.