Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Toast to Mollie and Al

I had a little while to work on this toast that I gave at Mollie and Al's wedding.

"First, I'd like to thank everyone for coming today, I know it means a lot to Mollie and Al, and it certainly means a lot to us that you would take the time and effort to be here to share this occasion with us today.

I don't want to steal any of the best man's thunder here but I've got a couple of things to say. I asked Mollie and she said it would be okay so..well I didn't really ask her, I just told her I was going to do it and she was alright with it..which was kind of a moot point because I was going to do it anyway.

A couple of months ago when Mollie asked me if I would walk her down the aisle along with her father I said 'Sure, I'd be honered.', and I didn't give it a second thought. A little while later though, I mentioned it to one of my staff officers and she said 'I don't know Sir, that sounds a little, well, gay.'

I said 'Gay, what are you talking about?'
She said 'Well, think about it Sir, 'My name's Mollie, and these are my two dads. This is my biological dad, and this is my other dad.'
Well thank you so much for that image, but when you put it that way it does sound a little gay. So, Gary, if you're getting any strange looks around here Big Guy, that's probably why. But, I said I would do it so at the risk of having my hetrosexuality called into question, I did this for you.

Seriously, I was honered to walk Mollie down the Aisle today along with her father, and I'll tell you why. You see, about ten years ago, I found myself in what Dante described as the 'dark wood, the true path having been lost.' Regardless of anything else I had done, I had been an absolute failure as both a husband and a father. I was making my way through life day to day without any inspiration or motivation. Then one day, I came home, and there sitting on the front porch was my redemption.

That's been 10 years Pam. It's been a long road from there to here, and that journey has brought us so many wonderful times that we have been ecstatic to share with those around us, like today. It has also brought us some extremely difficult times that we have had to lean on each other very heavily to get through, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it. I call Pam my redemption because she gave me the second opportunity to be a good husband, and I tahnk God every day for that and for her.

Along with Pam though, came Sarah, and Matthew, and Michael and Kristin, my little buddy Max over there, and of course Mollie, and therein, the second opportunity to be a good parent.
Now Mollie knew this, and she was determined to make me earn this title of "Good Parent". She managed to squeeze enough parent/child anxiety and drama to last a lifetime into a few short years. Now I know that all of you are looking at her right now and thinking 'She looks like a princess, what kind of drama could she possibly cause?' I knew that you would think that, so I brought along these index cards with some examples. Here's the time that Mollie wrecked her car on the way to work. Here's the time that she wrecked her car on the way home from work, quite a feat since she only lived two blocks from work. Here's something about a rocking chair, and...this is going to take too long so I'll just leave these cards up here and you can go through them on your own.

Seriously, I was honered to do this for her today because I know that when Mollie asked me, she was telling me that I had indeed earned that title of 'good parent'.

Now I would like to stand here and wish for Mollie and Al that all good things in life fall at your feet and that joy and happiness folow you for the rest of your days, but I'm not going to because it doesn't happen that way. It's work, a lot of hard work, and it's even harder when your in the military which as of today, you both are.

What I will wish for you though is the challenge to grow a little closer together each day, and to find new ways to love each other every day. I will wish you the opportunity to one day, years from now, look at each other and realize that when you first saw each other you were looking at true love.

So if you will raise your glasses with me, to Mollie and Al, to challenges and opportunities, and to true love."

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