BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The news came fast and with the power of a sledgehammer. Two daughters. Two weddings. In one year.
It seems like just yesterday that I was watching Tara and Ashley grow up. Infants, pre-school, grade school, high school, and then college. Lila and I have marveled at their successes. And felt pain when they failed. All part of growing up and raising two beautiful children.
But life moves on. Tara became engaged to Craig last year, and has planned a May wedding date in Biloxi. By then, she will be a D.V.M., looking for her first job as a doctor. Her engagement came with no great surprise. Tara and Craig have been dating for six years. He proposed to her on the beach in Florida, hiding the ring in a seashell.
The real bombshell came with Ashley. She graduated from U.S.M., and then moved on to Kentucky to get a masters degree. It was there she met Mark. I had met him a couple of times, but it seemed like they were just best friends. Then it got a bit more serious.
Mark came down to visit over the holidays and did something that's a throwback to a bygone era. With just him and I in the living room, he asked permission to marry my daughter. I was stunned. I stammered and stumbled. I took deep breaths, at a loss for words. Anyone who knows me thinks that is simply impossible. Doug at a loss for words. No way! Way! But I quickly recovered, and told Mark I would be proud to have him as a son-in-law. I offered some words of advice, and gave him my blessings.
They went back to Kentucky, and he proposed to Ashley, writing WILL YOU MARRY ME in the snow. She wrote back, YES! They will be married in late November.
Now for the sticky part, and the part that could lead to my funeral. How to pay for all this wedding stuff. Some wise old sage once said "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger." I'll subscribe to that theory.
Here are a few possibilities on drumming up the wedding cash. Rob a bank. Probably not. I'm a lousy criminal. Win the lottery or a casino jackpot. Again, probably not. Not very lucky. Take out a loan from the 401K plan. Not after the past 2 years. There's hardly anything left to loan. Borrow money from the credit union. That's the ticket.
I know it's the dad's responsibility to pay for the daughter's wedding, but someone needs to change the rules of engagement, pun intended. I surrender. By the time this is all over with, I may be in the grave, or at least have one foot in it. Or I'll be a lot stronger.
But in all seriousness, congrats to both my girls, and may you and your future husbands live long, prosperous, and happy lives together.