Father of the Bride…Me!

Father of the Bride…Me!Riding the razor’s edge between joy and sadness. This is a very personal and honest rambling into the world that is mine as I negotiate the territory that comes with being the Father of the Bride. It is my hope that I can be heard in my quest for some clarity and landing during this unusually tender time.

My daughter, Lauren, marries in 4 days….4 DAYS!

I do not know where to begin with how big of a day this is. For Lauren, sure, it’s going to be huge and it should be as HUGE as is possible! This is a new, really big step out into the world for her and, the son in law to be, Chris.

I am truly very happy for her. In these last two weeks now fast approaching the wedding, Lauren is looking the most radiant I have ever seen her. She has *always* been beautiful….but NEVER *this* beautiful! This is truly her day and she wears it so well.

Many reasons for celebration…right?! A very talented, powerful, wonderful and charming young woman finds one of the few men left on the planet who knows how to be respectful, honoring, strong, safe, dynamic and loving and the world, most approvingly, smiles broadly in response! Lauren wins…Chris wins….I win….Lauren’s mom wins!! Woo Hooo! Right?!

The embarrassing piece is that I’m just a little f**ked up about all this…quite frankly, there is something inside that in one moment aches deeply, like a gut punch and then in another moment, this same something inside smiles with happiness. I feel a little embarrassed. Isn’t there a way I “should” be? I’ve never done this before and I’m not silent about it…my friends have listened to me and they easily offer support. Many of the men I know involuntarily wince at the mere thought of walking their own daughters down the aisle too.

So why does that walk down the aisle to symbolically give Lauren away to Chris feel like such a long walk…? Why do I feel such a potent mixture of throat tightening contrasted with heart opening happiness? It’s almost paralyzing….I am not a man who enjoys a lot of change and typically any deep heel marks seen in the dirt are usually mine as I am sometimes dragged by life into new and sometimes upsetting possibilities.

I’ve done my job as a father and I have truly and absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. There is so much that I miss about what used to be. All those precious moments where as a small toddler, she would fall asleep on my chest…when she would love how I read her the bed time stories….holding her soft warm little hand when walking her everyday to elementary school…cheering for her at all her soccer games and proudly posting the many 8×10 photos I took of her on the living room wall…teaching her how to ride a bike…to drive a 5 speed Mustang 5.0…and being the rock for whenever life was so hard that she just needed to “burst” and so many more!

Her getting married seems to shut the door to a room that I never wanted shut.

Daddy’s little girl….there is only *this one* for me…never someone so special to me since the day she was delivered into this world. I am forever and gratefully changed for having Life’s richest of blessings and greatest of privilege that my daughter brought into my life.

So much to truly celebrate here. It is far from over. As that one door closes, another new one opens to the life that includes a new man, Lauren’s new life and all the possibilities that are just waiting to be created and experienced.

I just don’t go easy into the dark…I seem to enjoy resisting. So I find myself on the razor’s edge between sadness and joy. Very dynamic….and very Tantric! In between the lightest light and the darkest dark is the bitter and the sweet…just what I signed up for!

In the more relaxing moments when I resist less, I’m finding peace, warmth and calm in hearing a very personal, silent and comforting intuitive Truthful voice, You’ve done your job very well Martin….Lauren is in good hands.

You can rest now…”


  1. Martin,

    Wow. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in this. As the father of an 18 year old daughter who’s been in the Air Force the last 9 months, I can relate as well as anticipate.

    Maybe we can start a “drag me kicking and screaming while I dig in my heels” club?

    Your sentiments are beautiful and terrifying to me simultaneously. Yes, I know I’ve done my job, LOVED doing my job, feel somewhat OUT of a job and know that my daughter, Alana will ALWAYS need her father, even when she’s building her own life and her own family.

    Being a father is definitely not a candy ass gig. And without its gifts, I shudder to consider what kind of man I would be today.

    Thank you again,

    • Adam, your heartfelt and honest words struck a chord in me. Being “OUT of a job” is insightful and well played.

      To hear you acknowledge how the gifts of being one has enriched your life moves me. it is not often that I hear this…

      Spreading the word of ALL the riches that are available for fathers and children by being there with love, honor, respect and space is the only way to go. So nice to stand next to you!

      Alana is lucky to have you!

  2. Well, congratulations to you and your daughter Lauren, Martin! What a beautiful

    I’ll keep it simple as I’m sure you have much on your mind and the time approaches.

    You have expressed the BEAUTY of this occasion and how your feel. GREAT! Own it! You
    have the insights and answers.

    What you also expressed was that you want things the way they used to be as you raised
    Lauren. Everything I understand about tantra, zen or any wisdom tradition is that this is
    the attachment piece. Attachment creates suffering. To relieve this piece…SEE, BE WITH
    and ACCEPT the transition of this time fully.

    See walking your daughter down the aisle as ushering her with all your history and
    strength as a man and father INTO ritual transition. Enter into the ritual…be mindful
    of what your intention is. Transition…not ending. You aren’t giving her away. You can
    always be there for her as a father. Celebrate the BEAUTY of what you have accomplished
    as a father and the BEAUTY of who our daughter is. Trust the ritual.

    Toast yourself and dance for yourself IN ADDITION to your daughter at her wedding. You
    may want to do this under the radar. Toast and dance that you made it this far. Toast and
    dance with someone who has witnessed and done this with you. Her mother if possible.
    Honor your effort as a father and man, subtly. This is your daughters day…but quietly
    sneak in your piece. Smile at your accomplishment as a parent. Honor it.

    And feel free to laugh at yourself to! Have fun with this. Even share with Lauren
    (simply) how you feel.

    I hope this helps in your request. If not, you’ll be fine anyway….you sound like a
    great man with a great heart and head…trust them.

    Enjoy your celebration!!


    • Thank you for your reply Michael…and you are *dead on* right!

      I *am* suffering due to my attachment….and it goes deeper than my attachment to Lauren.

      There is the sneakier attachment I have to my identity (EGO!!) as a father that is being whittled down… without my consent (!)

      I was *the* single dad with primary custody from when Lauren was 9 and Jeff was 7 ( their mom moved out) and these two precious beings were my life. It was simple, there was my career and my children…dating and other things secondarily were filled in when there was time.

      The empty nest syndrome has been especially hard on me as I move to re define what new gifts I have to give since the gifts of fatherhood are offering less and less of the same opportunities for expression and subsequently, there is less reward.

      I’m just being totally honest here and “un – enlightened.” Certainly I have the tools to see my way through this, and yet as a human being, I am hobbled by the irrational parts that are governed by emotion. A deeper emotion doesn’t exist an that’s why I need help. The objective help that reminds me ( by shaking me by my lapels ) to :

      “Trust the Ritual….this is transition not an ending…toast and dance with her mom (YES!) and have fun!” Of course !

      …and thank you for the reminders and new suggestions!

  3. Thank you for being so open with your feelings and congratulations!!

    You have done a fine job of raising and Fathering your daughter and now it comes to a joyful, (and yet sad), fruition.
    Take in the fact that she has chosen this man as a direct correlation of the man that raised her, loved her unconditionally, guided her, advised and mentored her.
    Stand up, pull your shoulders back, smile and be very, very proud when you hand over that most precious baton to your new son in law.
    It’s not over. It’s merely a different space that she is moving in to. I know that you will always be there for her. You are very blessed.

    Love – Fordy

    • Wise words Fordy…thank you.

      It does feel GREAT to know that Lauren has picked a man that reminds her of her dad. That is how it goes, right?…and, for me, provides a huge measure of comfort and ease.

      Without engaging my EGO, it just feels comforting to know that as I took good care of her for all these years, the good care will continue on in Chris’s own way and mature into something even greater!

      “Head up …shoulders back….open heart”…will be what I will hold as I take that first step, with Lauren’s arm gently through mine, down that aisle.

      Lastly Fordy, your generosity in contributing here for my benefit is truly appreciated. We have many years of history together as fathers and you have often been a great source of valued insight during hard times. I am so grateful that you have been there.

  4. A few months ago I got misty in a burrito place watching a four-year-old girl jump into her father’s arms. It has been twenty years since Jenny jumped into my arms, and watching that reminded me how much I missed it. There are many moments in our lives that we wish would never end. Most of them last only seconds or minutes. Daddy’s little girl lasts many years. We try to get relationships right with lots of people … but I don’t think there is anyone I worry about more, or try harder to be “right” for than my daughter. I fantasize that she has a higher opinion of me than any other woman on earth, and I try hard to be worthy of that. If the thought of closing the curtain on that gig didn’t hit you hard, I’d feel sorry for you.

    As much as I wish I could carry her on my shoulders for ever, I more want her to be everything she can be, and to be able to have her own dreams and make them come true. She hasn’t been that little girl for a very long time, and you are nowhere nearly through being her father. But this is a big change, and it reminds us how much has changed, including some things that were very important to us. Just because the changes have already happened, doesn’t make acknowledging them any easier.

    For me, part of “being a man” is having the clarity to know what “the right thing” is and the strength to do it, whether it hurts or not. This time the thing that hurts is something wonderfull, and you know that. What is the “right thing”? That’s easy: Be her father. Tell her how much you love her, how proud you are of her, and what you wish for her, and help her in every way she’ll let you. She’ll cry, you’ll cry, and the tears won’t subtract anything from the joy.

    And how much it hurts … that is a measure of how good a father you are, and how much you love each other. You may be being whipped around … but I am happy for you.

    • Wow…thank you Mark. What a masterpiece…you hit the nail on the head with such sensitivity in so many places. I feel all of what you wrote very deeply and you literally moved and guided me through yet another layer of life’s blessings and challenges.

      Yes, this all hurts *and* feels terrific in so many varying waves. Your joy for my being whipped around resonates warmly as well as your confirmation that I am nowhere near through being her father! Great….because I’m nowhere near being done!

      Thank you so much for your valuable contribution to this blog!

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