Dear Taylor Kathleen:
Well, it's just about time.
On a distant shore that you've come to adore, you and I this week will walk over a little bridge and onto the sands of your future.
You, “T.K.” to your maternal grandfather and “Teen” to your mom, will, of course, be the stoic one, at least initially. Having done the fatherly thing of asking, one final time, “Are you ready?” (with the implied notion replacing “ready?” with “sure?”), the emotion of it all will well up in my throat and soon tug on my tear ducts as you, for the umpteenth time, shake your head in affirmation.
Considering I'm the fella who cries, every year, when the fictional Gen. Waverly of “White Christmas” fame is surprised to find that his former World War II charges traveled far and wide on Dec. 24 to fete him, this tug of war will be no contest.
After all, I'm about to give you, my firstborn, away in marriage.
And, my, how fast the nearly 27 years have gone by since you arrived during a blinding mountain snowstorm. ...
As an infant, your hours on the top of the running clothes dryer to quell your colicky cries ...
Those healthy post-bottle burps at 2 a.m. that sent a regurgitated warmness of your appreciation down my back ...
Those constant peeks out the door from your first five weeks of preschool to make sure Dad really was waiting in “The Dads Room” for you ...
Middle school, the clarinet, high school, the band (and those band trips), breaking out of the protective “bubble,” college, love lost (tears, fears and courage) and love found anew (cheers, renewal and happiness), struggles for independence, doubts, independence, womanhood.
And now, marriage.
The dress you've chosen for your wedding is quintessentially you — the epitome of no-nonsense simple elegance. You never considered yourself to be a girly-girl; jeans and a simple top and you always were good to go. But, child, in this dress you are a most beautiful woman.
And while I'm not totally privy to what the specifics of your something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue treasures will finally be, two other items will hold an equal significance, I hope. For they represent two special people no longer with us.
I will ask you to somewhere tuck away a nearly 80-year-old pewter hair clip engraved with the name Catherine, the paternal grandmother you never knew but of whom you are the spitting image, right down to her stunning chestnut hair.
And hanging somewhere near where you and your betrothed, Chris, will stand at waves' edge and take your vows, I'll do my best to hang a simple green birdhouse. It was made by your late paternal grandfather, Scottie, built from the wood shakes of his paternal grandparents' home known simply as “Warwood.”
I'm sure I'll feel your arm tighten into mine as we begin our walk among family and friends down the sandy aisle of your favorite sandy isle. I'll do my best to steady you — if you promise to do your best to steady me.
And then, the giveaway moment will arrive. A kiss to the cheek, a faux stern warning glance to Chris followed by a quick wink and a seat next to your mother who, by that time, will have run out of tissues.
You really are “ready” and I know you are “sure.”
I love you, Taylor.
Come over for lasagna Sunday after next?
Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages (412-320-7836 or firstname.lastname@example.org)