Caity, my Princess Caity Bug, is set to marry the man of her dreams. Mid- afternoon on Saturday, 9.10.11. I’ll walk with her down the sandy aisle on the beach of her new hometown, Westerly, RI. If it’s a clear day, we’ll see Block Island on the horizon. She and Pete Serra will exchange their vows.
I’m not sure if I’ll be wearing flip-flops or going barefoot. I’m good either way. In fact, I’ll be good just because I’m there. There was a time when I wasn’t sure I’d make it to see this day. Of all the reasons I found to keep on living, I must say, this day stands out as one of the grandest, most compelling.
I’ve never been a fan of the term “giving her away”. Anybody who knows Caity at all knows she is not owned by anyone. She is her own woman. On her
first day of third grade I came to believe she was going to be just fine. While standing at the bus stop, she took offense to something fourth grader Kurt Kluck said, and she decked him with a left hook. This would not be the last time she demonstrated an appropriate use of physical force. Caity is her own woman; strong, caring, creative and loyal. In many ways she is her mother’s daughter (except maybe for the left hook).
We’ll dance to Jimmy Buffet’s “Little Miss Magic”. This has always been our song.
“Constantly amazed by the blades of the fan on the ceiling. The clever little glances she gives me can’t help but be appealing. She loves to ride into town with the top down, feel that warm breeze on her gentle skin. She is my next of kin.”
I will toast the Newlyweds. I’ll try not to cry, but when I do, it will not be for my loss. Rather it will be on the sweet memories Caity has made and the amazing future that lies before her. I’m not sure yet what I’ll say (one really can never guess what will come out of my mouth when I have the microphone in my hand!); perhaps a memory or two of some special times together.
In elementary school, we joined Little Indian Princesses. Her Indian name was “Little Dove”, and she insisted that I be called “Big Dove”. Then there was the time walking across the playground when she squeezed my hand tighter and pulled me closer as two girls mocked my chemo induced baldness.
In High School we stole away first to get her navel pierced, then later to get our first tattoos together. By this point, Leigh’s family demanded that I not be allowed to have any unsupervised time with my daughter.
For her high school senior trip the two of us spent 5 days in the Caribbean on the islands of St Thomas and St John’s. The looks from the Customs officials and other travelers as if I were a ‘Sugar Daddy’ with very young taste was, in of itself, worth the cost of the trip. We had some fun with that one.
Caity usually gets what she wants. Leigh and I are still debating how she talked me into believing that I promised her a car after her freshman year of
college. And who can forget the wrought emotionalism as she learned to drive a manual shift on the hills in our neighborhood. This perhaps was the longest
three days of any father’s life.
The seaside nuptials and the beach themed reception (www.saltwaterfarmvineyard.com) are as natural for Caity and Pete as breathing air. Though she was born on Earth Day in 1986, from conception her pulse has beat in rhythm with the seas.
When she was 4 years old we were heading for our family vacation on the Jersey Shore for a family vacation. As we crossed the Susquehanna River, about 10 minutes into the 4 hour drive, she squealed from the back seat, “Look! It’s the ocean! We’re here!”
When she was 12, during our New England vacation, we spent 2 days on Block Island. This is where I introduced Caity and her brother Chris, to calamari (although I didn’t tell them immediately it was squid!) Calamari is still our family’s ‘appetizer of choice’ when dining out.
When she was 16 I finally took the family to Hawaii, the place of my birth and upbringing. Within 30 minutes of arriving on the island, while sitting at an outdoor cafe on Waikiki Beach, she asked, “Daddy, what were you thinking? Why did you ever leave here?”
At age 20, a college junior, she spent her semester abroad in Australia. On her first day, she met the man of her dreams. Frankly, like her brother, Chris, Pete in so many ways is already more a man than I may ever become. I don’t know if Pete is every father’s dream of what they want their daughter to be attracted to, but I do know he is my dream; respectful, confident, conscientious and a
hell of a lot of fun to be around. We feel so blessed to have him part of our
Aloha nui loa, my dearest Caity. May you and Pete find fair winds and
following seas in all of your life’s journeys.