Weddings, Daughters, and Baseball

Being a father is a joy. I was there as each of my five children were born and held them as they took their first breaths of life. The first four were daughters followed by my son. As I stood there gazing down at each one I was filled with equal amounts of joy and terror.

The joy came as I thought about raising each of them and all the experiences we would share together. The terror came about as I realized that each of them would grow up and get married.

I am all for marriage, after all I did that once myself. The problem was, four of these sweet babies would grow up and want the perfect wedding. A phrase that makes fathers everywhere cringe and cling to their wallets.

Upon graduation from college our second daughter Mallorie found a wonderful man that she wanted to spend time and all eternity with as husband and wife. They were engaged and plans began for a spring wedding in Arizona.

This time of year is perfect. The flowers are in bloom, the temperatures are mild, and the sunsets are gorgeous. There was a slight bit of panic when Mallorie said she wanted to be married in April.

April is the beginning of baseball season and I was really hoping that she was either planning the wedding during a Diamondbacks road trip or better yet planning to have the reception at Chase Field.

The Chase Field venue was quickly vetoed so I kept my fingers crossed that the Diamondbacks would be out of town. The date they chose was April 15 and the Diamondbacks would be in Los Angeles playing the Dodgers and what better day to get married than Jackie Robinson Day?

For months mother, daughter, and fiancé planned the wedding and reception. My job through all of this was to wisely listen then write a check to yet another vendor. It was a fairly simple task that even I shouldn’t be able to screw up.

After pages and pages of planning and countless phone calls to make sure everything was ready the big day arrived. My daughter and her fiancé were joined as husband and wife. It was a beautiful ceremony and more than a few tears of joy fell. As proud parents we stood back and watched as our daughter was wed.

The wedding reception was planned for that evening. The venue was decorated, the caterer set out wonderful desserts, and the gardens were filled with beautiful flowers. The photographer was in place taking picture after picture to document the event.

Part way through the reception there was a dance planned. It contained all of the traditional things such as the Couple’s First Dance, the Mother-Son Dance, and of course the Father-Daughter Dance.

My daughter had spent a lot of time picking out the perfect music that would be played for each of these dances. She had gone over them several times with the DJ and venue to make sure they would not miss their queue.

For the Father-Daughter Dance she selected “I Loved Her First” by Heartland. It is a beautiful song with a very special meeting. As I listened to the song during the time leading up to the wedding I just was not sure it fully captured the event.

Since Mallorie was so busy with other wedding details I decided I would help her out by making changes to the music. After all, she does want this day and this dance to be perfect right?

That night as the DJ introduced both Mallorie and I and the Father-Daughter Dance I gazed into her eyes as only a proud father can do. Instead of the first bars of “I Loved Her First”, the venue sound system began playing D-Backs Swing by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers.

At that moment her younger system brought out the neon orange “Lucky Hat” and placed it upon her head. I figured with all the failed marriages that happen in society today they needed all the luck they could get.

The groom and his family looked as confused as the bride. As the song played I was dancing my heart out. Mallorie quickly recovered and she too began dancing.

My youngest daughter had anticipated this event and had made signs that she and her friends held up with lyrics to allow the other guests to sing along. It was perhaps the most perfect Father-Daughter Dance that was ever conceived.

After the dance Mallorie and I embraced and I told her how much I loved her. She whispered in my ear, “Dad you should email Derrick Hall and tell him that although the Diamondbacks were not able to come to my wedding, you made sure that the team was there.”

With just one song I was able to create a memory that my daughter will never forget and from the sounds of things she is not going to let me forget it either.


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