As my daughter left back to her home in New York last month, my eyes were moist, was this ‘the little girl I carried?’ I wondered, and my mind went back a few years:
All you fathers having daughters know that when they want something from dad, they suddenly become all child again. I felt this change as she entered my room, and I geared myself for the assault, “Dad,” she said, “You and mummy are going to sing at my wedding!”
“No way!” I said, a little louder than necessary and watched her face fall, “Fathers and mothers don’t sing at their daughter’s weddings, they give away the bride, they pay the bills, they greet the guests, anything more than that is taboo!”
“Please,” she said, and suddenly I was looking at the little girl I carried. “I do want you and mummy to sing!”
And so, it came to pass, that at the wedding of my daughter at the Afghan Church, my wife and I, we sang. A tear, made its way gently down her beautiful face and I missed a beat: “Sunrise, Sunset”, we sang, a song from the movie, “Fiddler on the Roof.” And as we sang, I looked at the couple. My eyes were not on the packed church, which in spite of its huge capacity, still had a hundred odd people standing outside, not on the preacher, ready with his sermon, not even at my wife next to me, but on the young couple, eyes wide, listening.
‘Sunrise, Sunset,’ we sang, ‘Swiftly fly the days,’ dear children. You, seedlings will bloom to sunflowers, and youth will turn to maturity. Years will follow each other in quick succession, and before you know, you will be singing at the wedding of your own children! There will be happiness, and also dear children, tears, as joy so often is followed by pain.
My eyes wandered from my own dear children to those who were in love, about to get married or just married: What words of wisdom could I give them? How could I ease their way? But now you’ve got to learn from one another, day by day. Even as you hold each other’s hands, remember there will be days when those same hands you hold will be gnarled and wrinkled, but remember the sunrise, newlywed days, and treasure those memories as the sun sets slowly over your lives. We slowly moved back to our seats, my wife and I, eyes moist, my hands clammy as I held hers. A few years later we got up again to sing the same song for our second one. We don’t remember them growing older, we thought, as we smile at both the little girls we carried..!