Average Jane

Butterfly Kisses

I made it to the father-daughter dance before I lost it — lost it one tear at a time. I lost my strength that carried me through the first wedding in St. Lucia, through the second wedding in Virginia.

To be fair, I lose it at every father-daughter dance, lose it or leave the room. Everyone at this wedding thought I was overwhelmed with emotion because her mom couldn’t be there. She made it all the way to the island before collapsing in a heap, unable to walk, spasming in pain. She sat in the island hospital as her daughter got married to my brother. She shed her own tears as she sat in a wheelchair at the airport unable to move her legs, awaiting her next pain pill, flipping through the only photos she had seen of the blessed event on my teal blue digital camera.

But that wasn’t why I was crying.

And my brother’s friend from college and his wife came out on their way to catch a quick smoke. “Really emotional day, huh? We’re so happy for him, too. ” I nodded, wiping the tears that were still falling one at a time even though I was in the clear. They were right.

But that wasn’t why I was crying either.

I walked back upstairs and got a drink and took a breath. And I went back in. And I looked at the reason I was crying. The reason I cry at every wedding. The reason I may never have a father-daughter dance.

He wasn’t any my brother’s wedding either, not because he was holed up in a hospital, but because he chose not to come. Or he couldn’t come, I have to make allowances for that. He is morbidly obese and diabetic and can’t walk that well. And he has a dog that he loves very much. But he wasn’t there. I was. I was there at the couples-only resort — a single woman there with my mom.  I was there with a smile and a helping hand.

And my fear is that he may not show up to my wedding either, if I get married. But in those many years from now it may not be because he just doesn’t feel like it. I worry that it may be because being there isn’t even an option. Or if he is there, he’ll be in a wheelchair, but not because he had a neurological disorder but because he cannot sustain his own weight.

So I cried as I listened as she danced with her dad to a song about a father and a daughter and the beautiful times they spent together.

It was a beautiful wedding. She was a beautiful bride. For a few fleeting moments I could imagine that I may be one day, as well.



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  1. * terra says:

    That’s tough stuff and I admit I have no idea what thinking about all that must feel like. My father and I aren’t close, not for any health reasons, but because I’m the product of his first marriage and his wife, who he married when I was five, just doesn’t like me. I always cry at father/daughter dances too.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 1 month ago
  2. * jaibee says:

    wow, this is heavy. thank you for sharing this. I dont’ have a relationship with my mother, which has caused (what I imagine) a similar anxiety… I mean, who will help me get dressed on my wedding day? teach me how to take care of a baby? remind me how to hard-boil eggs? ya know, mom things.

    what I’ve learned, however, is how grateful I am for my father. my father who took me for my first bra, dealt with new boyfriends, and calls me every sunday. you learn to love and appreciate what you have, even if it’s not what you imagined “perfect” to look like.

    and, interestingly, “butterfly kisses” is what he decided will be his father-daughter song.

    | Reply Posted 7 years ago
  3. * wheelchair says:

    So nice to read your blog…We are on the same shoes…I, too is close to my father…which seems to be peculiar, right? Mostly daughters are close to their mother than their father…a unique story…

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 12 months ago

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