As a wedding photographer, husband and father of two young girls, a big part of my time is taken up thinking about weddings. Often the father of the bride gets a little bit overlooked in weddings. Fathers and daughters have a special bond and we are often seen as the protectors of our girls. On the wedding day a lot of fathers end up a little uncomfortable. They tend to be wearing the unfamiliar garb of a suit and tie before being thrust into the spotlight to ‘give away’ the bride and make a speech.
The thing people don’t realise is that we Dad’s have been giving away our girls for our entire lives. It’s something I only came to understand this week.
This week my eldest daughter started school. She’s been to daycare and preschool previously and I have always known what she’s done on a day to day basis. However this week, I gave a little bit of her away. I don’t know what happens at school. She has her own life now. She has friends I don’t know. That’s no drama. My parents who I love dearly, let me, my sister and brother go off on a few adventures. We let them know where we were but weren’t hovered over. They didn’t always know the details and we turned out OK (even if one of us did throw in an honours degree in Engineering to be a photographer).
My biggest worry about my daughter starting school was that she would be taught a bunch of new extra curricular words but she tells me she has a teacher who is going to teach her “English words like they say in Japan like ‘Bonjour’.”. She has new friends with weird names and odd spellings. But that’s OK. I’ve seen some of them. I’ve noticed a few other parents. They all look normal. Fun. People you’d have around for a BBQ. And that’s a relief. She’s got a birthday and party coming up. The whole class is invited.
Just like a wedding I’m going to be paying to feed, water and entertain a bunch of people I don’t know. That’s cool. It’s part of me, a Dad, giving away the bride. It just started a little earlier than I had imagined.