Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finally Saying Thanks

First look picture with my dad on the day of my wedding.  A memory that I will never forget.  Photo taken by Misty Como at Focused Photography.
Ok, I realize this post is a little late considering Father's Day was on Sunday, but, hey, it's never a bad time to appreciate Dad. 

I will admit that I probably wasn't the easiest child to raise.  Sure, I didn't get into much trouble, but I was certainly headstrong and opinionated - even when I wasn't knowledgeable enough to form a decent opinion - and I always thought I was the authority on decision making.  Whenever I was set on making whatever poor decision I was about to make, my dad would frequently redirect me and say "you're frontal lobe isn't fully developed until you're 21."  This was my dad's way of saying I was too young, too stubborn, or too uninformed to make the best decision and this was why he was offering his guidance. 

And he was right.  I never fully appreciated everything that my parents did for me until, probably, long after I was 21.  About the time I was getting married was the time I was starting to realize the part they played in helping me through life, college, and becoming the adult I am today.  Our relationship is a lot different now, and I would like to think it's a lot better.  After teaching second grade for a year, I now understand how difficult it is to pour your heart, soul, and a lot of effort into something and have a child not appreciate the outcome.  Granted lesson plans and child rearing are on totally opposite ends of the effort spectrum, but I understood a little bit about how it could be so difficult to reason with a child with an "under developed frontal lobe." 

So, since I've been blogging a lot about my wedding, let me tie this in.  I struggled for a long time figuring out what to give my parents on the day of my wedding.  No tangible item could really express the appreciation that I had for them, but I wanted to try.  I opted for books.  I have an affinity for books, being an English major, so it was fitting in that aspect.  A lot of that affinity likely has to do with the memories I have of trips to the library and reading stories together with my parents.  But, regardless, I picked out books, the one for my dad being "My Father, My Hero."  Now, my family isn't a super emotional, over the top family, so this expression of emotion was probably a lot as far as my family goes, but on the pages of the book, I decided to write my own thanks.  I didn't get the opportunity to see my dad open it, but my mom said he cried.  I would like to think partially because I was finally an adult, and finally able to say thank you for everything he had done.  In other words, my frontal lobe was fully developed. 

Another thing I wanted to do the day of the wedding was a first look with my dad.  If you're a reader that is planning your wedding, it is absolutely a moment that I urge you to fit into your pre-wedding events.  The moment that I was able to share with my dad was priceless and our photographer Misty was even able to snap an amazing picture of the moment.  It's honestly one of my favorite pictures from the wedding and we have it displayed on the wall of our living room.  I hope if you choose to fit this idea into your wedding you treasure the moment as much as I do. 

First dance photo with Dad.  Photo taken by Misty Como at Focused Photography

It's also customary that the father of the bride gives a speech at the reception after the wedding and my wedding was no exception.  A few weeks before the wedding I had asked my father to make a wooden box for Patrick and I that we would use in lieu of a sand or candle ceremony.  The idea was that Patrick and I would each write each other a letter that we would put inside the box and read on our first anniversary.  During our wedding ceremony, we put the letters into the box and sealed the box.  The box also contains a bottle of wine that we will drink while we read the letters.  The box my father made was beautiful, but I didn't make the connection until he gave his speech.  When I was born, my father made my crib - a task which took countless hours of what he called "love and labor."  The box was another work of "love and labor" completed by my dad.  The box now sits on a table in our bedroom and I can't wait to open it in about a month on my first wedding anniversary. 

The top of the wooden box my dad made for our box ceremony during the wedding. 

Overall, make sure you cherish your family and fit this into your wedding.  They are the ones that make the memories you'll remember. 

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