I desperately want to talk to my dad, want to cry out daddy and run and fall into his arms. I want to fall asleep on his shoulder in the chair in our living room. I want to see the worry and desire for protection in his face when I go on a date with a guy. I want him to hesitantly ask me how it went and what I thought, fearing the possibility of losing his little girl to another man. Or fearing what he will be moved to do if this boy breaks my heart.
Mom and I were watching Downtown Abbey together, her new favorite show, and one of the daughters was about to get married. There was a scene of the daughter coming to the dad before the ceremony and asking if he is okay. He said his heart was just bursting in his chest with love and excitement for her. All he wants is her happiness and knows how well Matthew (about to be husband) will love her.
Mom turns to me, eyes filling with tears, and says, “You won’t have your dad to walk you down the aisle.”
At another time, maybe, this would have filled me with anger. How dare she say this to me. Of course I know I won’t have my father to walk me down the aisle. She has no idea how this has tortured me as I have dwelled on it in my thoughts, as my desire for marriage has been increasingly kindled. Before I started to embrace my womanhood and femininity, I considered walking down the aisle fatherless, and it seemed so distant, too distant to stir my emotions or carve a hole in my heart. Now, however, when I close my eyes and imagine that day, Lord willing it comes, my heart feels like a weight in my chest. I wasn’t angry with mom when she spoke this reality into existence, out loud for the whole universe to hear, as if it was not already aware. Deafening and biting though it was to my own ears, I remembered something else. Love leaves brandmarks. Changes us. As Adam walks me down the aisle, how, almost perfectly, we together will reflect the love our dad marked on us, and he will be there indeed.