Love, Family

Why I Regret Not Reconciling With My Father Before My Wedding Day

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Why You Should Reconcile With Your Estranged Father Before Your Wedding Day

Somehow, I knew my dad would never walk me down the aisle for my wedding day. I’ve witnessed bunches of fathers and daughters take the dance floor for their specially selected, all-important father-daughter dance songs, which brings up visions of poignant moments of Butterfly Kisses by Bob Carlisle.

Many times while they're doing their father-daughter dance, the bride will cry and the dad will tear up, thinking of the days when his baby girl was still a short toddler looking up to her heroic dad.

Getting married is a big part of your life, and it's natural for you to want everything to be beautiful and meaningful. But an important and oftentimes overlooked part of your wedding is reconciling with your estranged father — whether you're looking for that all important father-daughter wedding dance or not.

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Truth be told, some women have different visions. My dad was a great and amazing man. It took me years to appreciate the things he passed on to my sister and me. He never left our family, and always — by the grace of God — worked alongside our hardworking mom to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.

Daddy had his faults like we all do, but as I grew up I only looked at my mom's side of things, since we were in her company much more often.

“If Daddy would just do right,” I’d think to myself, “things would be better.” If he didn’t just drink so much and stay out later than planned, stuff would be A-OK.

However, you grow and learn and realize that your mom might have her own faults. Mom was no angel. Maybe they were meant to be together, maybe not.

But by the time I eloped as a 22-year-old, grinning on a Panama City beach, I was already following in both their footsteps to get my first failed marriage out of the way. No room for my parents that July day — they would only learn I was a married woman later that year, around Christmas.

My second marriage was much more blessed, but as I sat in the Grand Wailea Resort hotel room in Maui, and Daddy was 4,189 miles away in Chicago, I felt it was time to bring some kind of reckoning to our relationship.

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Daddy wouldn’t be walking me down the wedding aisle on a Maui beachfront, nor would he witness those nuptials; I had a pressing desire to tell him why. So I used the hotel’s stationery to write him a letter, telling him how aloof I’d felt he’d been over the years.

After my wedding day, he emailed me back saying he didn’t realize I thought he was distant. He made some quip about us not laughing at his jokes.

Of course, the truth ran much deeper, but it was a start to getting us on some kind of path of mutual understanding. The last time I saw my dad before he died, I cried.

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He thought I was worried about him moving to Houston. I was crying because I knew it would be the last time I saw him this side of heaven, before he would “go to glory,” as he liked to say.

If you want to have your special moment at your upcoming wedding with your estranged father, your nuptials can represent a perfect milestone for the two of you to come to some peaceful plateau. It doesn't even have to be on the dance floor or while walking down the aisle at your wedding.

My dad taught me more than being a blushing bride — he took me to church and taught me about believers being the bride of Christ, a much more important lesson I could ever learn otherwise.

And although I never got my special dance at my wedding, perhaps I will get it with Jesus and Daddy one day.

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Paula Neal Mooney is the author of several books and her essays and articles have been featured in national print magazines such as Writer's Digest, Yahoo, Examiner, and more. For more information, reach out to her at Twitter.

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