Today I am in Walt Disney World. As related last week, this will be a very different visit from all of those we have ever made. Today my daughter is getting married.
This is the second time one of my children is getting married, and once again my thoughts have been very reflective. It's hard to separate the memories of my son from those of his older sister since they were very close as they grew up, sharing so many interests and activities.
My wife and I tried for two years before she became pregnant with our first child-to-be. In fact, because of her schedule, I was the one to call the lab to get the results of the pregnancy test. (This was before home tests were available.) So I was the one to call her to tell her that she was indeed pregnant.
It was a very happy and exciting time over the next nine months.
My daughter was born at the time during which fathers were just starting to be part of the birth process, rather than spectators, waiting with the rest of the family in the hospital waiting room. I was there in the delivery room, and was the first to discover that the baby was no longer an "it", but a "she", and though my father-in-law told me not to worry, the next one would be a boy, I was thrilled.
We loved watching her grow up, and all the firsts as they occurred. When her brother was born two years later, they immediately formed a wonderful sibling bond. My daughter became the big sister, and her brother's protector. There was even the time when my son was in first grade that she forged my signature on a note home from his teacher so that he wouldn't get into trouble. (It didn't work, my wife discovered the note.)
As they grew older, they shared many activities, not least of which was our (almost) yearly trips to Disney World, but also including baseball, instrumental music, and Broadway - all things close to my heart as well.
They played together on the same Little League team, and would take turns spending time with me at Mets games, having season tickets for 14 years while they grew up. There was no better quality time than the time we spent at the ballpark.
In elementary school they both started playing an instrument. He started on the clarinet while she started playing flute. Since I had played viola for more than two decades at that point in time, it was yet another thing that we could all share. (My wife plays piano.) And over the next many years we did. When she was ready for high school, she joined the school's marching band because each President's Week vacation, they would perform in Disney World. (There is that connection again.) Two years later, my son would also join that band, and not only was it a school activity, but the basis for their social life as well. My son would, in his senior year, have the honor of being one of the drum majors of the band and lead them in Disney World.
About this time, I committed to being the Musical Director of a local summer theater group, and had the privilege of having both of them in my show bands for many years. What a great time that was!
Then came college, and they both attended the same out of town university. For the first time since my daughter was born, it was only me and my wife at home. No running around with activities or running a taxi service - which had ended previously as each of them earned their own drivers licenses. We were being prepared for the next stage of our life.
While she was performing in Disney World with her band during her senior year in high school, I heard my daughter tell a friend that after college, she intended to return to Central Florida and work in Disney World. This was when my son and my daughter discovered the Walt Disney World College Program. The first semester of my son's sophomore year in college was spent in Disney World, working in the Haunted Mansion, and earning 12 credits in Theme Park Management. My daughter would actually do two semesters of the College Program after she had graduated from college, one in Disney's Animal Kingdom and one at the Caribbean Beach Resort. As she predicted, she graduated college and then moved to Central Florida to work in Disney World. Today she is still there as an IT Analyst.
After college, my son returned home for a while during which time he worked as a lab assistant for a year before becoming a high school science teacher. He was the first of the two to get married, and now is the father of (almost) two year old twin boys.
Now, my daughter is getting married.
It has been an adventure, and one I wouldn't trade for anything!
Video for Wedding Day