To My Father On My Wedding Day, Please Remember I Loved You First

 Shaun Menary
Shaun Menary

“She’ll change her name today. She’ll make a promise and I’ll give her away.”

It seems a little surreal writing this, only because I’m nowhere near ready to take that walk yet. I’m nowhere near ready to be someone else’s for good. But that day will come sooner rather than later and while it’ll be the happiest day of my life, it too comes bearing a heavy heart because for all of my life you’ve been the one I relied on. It’s hard to imagine someone else becoming that important to me.

I never needed someone the way I need you. I can’t imagine a day in my life when I won’t.

They say a man learns a new definition of love when he has a daughter. But I think daughters learn from their fathers too.

You’ve set a standard few can compare to. But I know the man standing before the two of us (when that day comes) will uphold the values you have set for me and the example you’ve led my entire life. It would be a sign of disrespect to ever marry someone not as great as you. It’s more than opening doors, pulling out chairs and paying for things. It’s a common respect you’ve shown me for as long as I can remember. You’ve given me your absolute best every single day. You’ve never once fallen short. You’ve never once said no and never once disappointed me. You’ve believed in me in moments I questioned myself. You challenged me and taught me in the moments I wanted to quit. You’ve carried me when I thought I was weak, showing me of a strength I didn’t even know I had. You loved me when others couldn’t and dried tears I never thought would stop streaming down my face. You always reminded me that there was a man out there who deserved me.

You’ve pushed me even when I tried to push you away. You tried to protect me in the times the world got ugly. You gave me a place to always run to when everyone and everything became too cold. You welcomed me with open arms to the only place that felt like home because you were there. But more than that you’ve given me your best and in return, I’ve become or strive to be the best version of myself. The version of myself that has brought or will bring someone as good as you into my life.

While I don’t know him yet, I know he’ll love me unconditionally as you have. I know he’ll work to build a life for me that was better than his own just like you. I know he’ll never give up on me, just like you never have. I know we might fight but he’ll never stop fighting for me. I know he’ll do his best and just like you supported me I’ll show him that same support. In the times he questions himself or we are faced with adversity I’ll be that strength. In the time’s things are difficult maybe I’ll turn to you for answers in your old age. But I also know there is enough of who you are as a person, within me myself, I’ll continue to strive to make decisions you would. I’ll continue to live my life in a way that would make you proud.

I am the woman I am because I was loved by you my entire life.

And I know with confidence the man that takes my hand will be someone who can love me forever.

There aren’t word to convey gratitude the word ‘love’ simply doesn’t seem like enough. But when I walk down that aisle and when he says ‘I do’, what he really is promising is live in your shadow, to live by the example you’ve set and try desperately to fill the shoes of someone who has been in my heart far longer than he has. The someone I loved first.

“With all that I’ve done wrong, I must have done something right.” – Bob Carlisle Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

Related

More From Thought Catalog