I’m giving my Dad away for Mother’s Day. He’s getting married the day before, and he asked me, my brother and my sister to walk him down the aisle. I’m happy to do it, even though I wonder how it will feel when the day comes.
You see, my Mom died in the summer of 2009. She suffered a massive stroke on a Tuesday and was gone by Saturday morning. The wonderful woman Dad’s marrying lost her husband a few months later. They are great for each other. She is so easy to get along with and dotes on my kids so wonderfully.
She and Dad probably would have preferred not to get married on Mother’s Day weekend, but you try coordinating the schedules of four children, spouses and six grandchildren, never mind extended family and friends. It’s a wonder they found a Saturday in May that worked.
It will be strange escorting Dad down the same church aisle where he and Mom walked with me for my own wedding 13 years ago. But it will make sense. Having his kids (if we can still call ourselves kids when we’re in our 40s) bring him to the altar is Dad’s way of emphasizing that he’s bringing his whole life to this marriage, not leaving that history behind.
My siblings and I have talked a lot since Dad announced his engagement at Christmas. It was no surprise. What has surprised me is realizing that I’m more worried about Dad moving out of our childhood home than I am about him getting remarried.
Maybe it’s the thought that I won’t have that familiar place to come back to for holidays or that my childhood will feel even further removed after the place is sold. Or maybe it’s just something physical to focus on while so much of what is changing is emotional — something you feel in your gut, not something you can hold on to.
Dad knows himself well. He’s not the kind of person to live out his years alone. As I give him away this weekend, I know that while this isn’t the life he had planned for himself, he is looking ahead. I will be thinking of the milestones he’s going to share with his grandkids and his new wife.
Eugene Sonn is WHYY’s news director.