New year brings new chapter

Happy New Year! Like every other New Year's Eve, this one was no different. We rang in the new year with a festive and fun-filled celebration with the family. Lots of hugs, kisses and high-fives in my household. But then, out of nowhere, my daughter Anna dared to blurt out the words I will never forget as long as I live:

"Happy wedding year!"

Wait, what? What are you talking about? And how dare you utter those words in front of your father.

Clearly, she recognized the dumbfounded look on my face.

"This is the year I'm getting married!"

Impossible! Maybe she's drunk. Or maybe I am.

"Are you sure? Aren't you like, 8 years old? And aren't I like, 25 years old?"

As I slowly regained consciousness, the realization began to set in. This is in fact the year my first born is getting married. Now, it's not like I forgot about the fact that she got engaged last summer. But the August 2022 wedding date seemed so far off in the distance, it didn't really dawn on me until exactly at 12:00:05 a.m. Jan. 1.

The good news is, despite my decades-old fear of the day I have to give my daughter away, she found a wonderful guy, and I couldn't be happier for them both. But that doesn't change the fact that it's still a pretty big pill to swallow.

I think part of the problem is I remember my wedding day as if it were yesterday. And it seems like the day she was born was just a few days ago, too. This whole growing up thing is way more complicated than I thought. All those old fogies who used to rant all the time about how fast time flies and how youth is wasted on the young? It turns out they were spot on.

Then everyone else chimes in.

"Have you started working on your speech yet? Do you know what your father-daughter dance song will be?"

Lord, give me strength. It was hard enough looking at wedding venues and comparing plates and napkins (I'm not kidding). Honestly, the father-of-the bride speech should be no problem. Give me a microphone and a room full of half-inebriated people and watch me shine.

But when it comes to the dance, I'm pretty sure that's when I will lose it. I hope she doesn't mind dancing to Metallica because that may be the only way I don't bawl my eyes out.

Seriously, I couldn't be more excited. It was one of the happiest days of my life and I know it will be for Anna, too. And my tears? They will definitely be tears of joy. Well, mostly.

- John Bourjaily of Golfview Hills is a contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].