Excuse me while I step away and get my tuxedo inseam checked...
Dear legions of the digital universe and other life forms who dip into "The Cold Filtered Ramblings":
It's truly been a pleasure serving you these past several years. This outlet provides yours truly a long-form opportunity to vent about the issues of the day and other stuff that chaps my pasty, AARP-card toting butt.
After all, where else would you go to get near-weekly screeds on the virtues of roundabouts?
I've prided myself on a fairly steady delivery of fresh content, but that may change the next couple of weeks as my energies will be aimed elsewhere. I have a daughter who is getting married and there's a learning curve that comes with being father of the bride.
This will be my first time down the aisle in that role. It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that we were at church for her baptism That stuff about "time flying"? There's a reason they say that. It's true.
As one who prides himself on avoiding conflict and tough decisions, I've been surprisingly deft at dodging both during this process. Dad, I've come to find out, is asked precious little when it comes to the particulars of pending nuptials. The one time my input was sought was during "the tasting", when the caterer allows you to sample prospective reception food but I was sick as a dog for both such appointments. And, that's fine: I'm not a detail guy and really don't care about colors, floral arrangements, print font and paper stock. Just tell me how much, and who to write the check to.
That part I have down pat. Fathers know THAT day is coming the minute the doctor tells you, "It's a girl." It's duty dads gladly embrace amid self-effacing humor, jokes about getting a second job and wondering if you can still get paid for blood donations.
Emotions? There are plenty, and I'm sure they'll make their presence felt that day, mostly in the form of a huge grin and occasional discharge from the eyes. My goal is to keep that second part from being frequent, loud, and/or distracting.
It's also a time for a little personal inventory. Wedding day is a chance for parents to take stock of how they did. It's one of those milestones (like graduation day or those times when you're sitting with your kid in the principal's office) where you can pause and say, "Did I raise my child right?" In the end, all you can do is hope that you taught the fruit of your loins what's right and what's wrong, how to make solid choices and how to deal with the consequences when those decisions don't pan out.
I did the math the other day and was truly amazed: add up the months and months of planning, prepping, buying, tasting, fitting, fussing and choosing. Match that number with the hours you'll actually be spending at the event itself, from the first note at the service until the last swallow of old fashioned goes down Uncle Ted's neck. By my counting, it's a year and a half versus nine hours. Wow.
There's more to be done before the big day, which is why I'm off the air and away from the keyboard. There's this emotional soup coursing through my veins: overwhelming joy, unbridled anticipation, and the underlying realization that another one of life's obligations is getting scratched from my "to do" list.
No, you never stop being dad but rarely do you get the chance to be father of the bride, if at all. And, I'm going to savor every second of it, just as I have being the proud dad of one Alyssa Marie Mueller even when she's not busy getting married.
That's why I may not be tending to the Cold Filtered Ramblings as much as you've grown accustomed to in the days ahead. I'll be a little distracted. And, I'll be shopping for a handkerchief.
Gene Mueller, aka father of the bride