Most relationships develop over time. You learn to love your friends as family and trust your siblings with your deepest secrets, but the relationship between parent and child has a unique dynamic that you are literally born into.
It is amazing to see my friends become parents. They have all told me that they didn’t know they could love someone so much. One of my friends recently posted on her Facebook that she loves her daughter more and more everyday. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a house where love, respect, trust and honesty were the foundation of my life. It is the job of a parent, I believe, to be brutally honest with their children, because if you cannot believe your parents’ honesty, who can you trust – especially in relationships.
I was sitting at my desk one day when my phone rang.
“Hello, I Do Expert, this is Mr. Roberts. I’m Barbie’s dad.”
“Oh hello Mr. Roberts, I just spoke with Barbie and Ken. I am excited for our meeting in next week. The special day will be here before you know it!”
“Right, that’s exactly what I wanted to talk to you about.” Mr. Roberts said in a very serious tone.
Insert foot into your mouth, I thought to myself. The couple must have broken off the engagement and the father is calling me because poor Barbie is crying her eyes out at her Barbie Dream Townhouse.
“Oh gosh, what can I do?” I said.
“Well,” Mr. Roberts said, “How long do I have to break up this relationship and still get my money back?”
Thankfully this part of our conversation was not in person, because I had to pick myself up off the floor. I remember Ken telling me how he asked for Mr. Robert’s permission to propose to Barbie on a dream getaway in their pink Winnebago that they travelled across the country in.
How could this father give his blessing to a man proposing to his daughter, let her get engaged and then weeks later turn around and ask me, the wedding planner, how long he has to break off the engagement and still get his money back?
I was flabbergasted and speechless, both adjectives I never thought I would use to describe myself. I finally pulled myself together after what seemed like minutes of crickets chirping and tumbleweeds blowing across my brain.
“Excuse me. I think the phone cut out. Did you ask me how long you had to break off the engagement in order to get your money back?”
“Yep, I sure did.” Mr. Roberts said.
“Well, I guess that the sooner the better. All of the deposits that have been made to vendors are only refundable if they are able to rebook the date to another couple, which at this point is likely since we are a year out, but a decision needs to be made soon.”
I could hear him typing on the other end of the line. “Can I come into your office?” he said abruptly.
“Certainly, I said – I am here all afternoon, come on in.”
About 15 minutes later Mr. Roberts came to my office. I escorted him in and showed him to a large comfortable chair, I took the matching chair across from him.
After getting him a glass of water I said “I know it may not be any of my business, but did something happen? Is Barbie okay?”
“Oh she’s fine. I just don’t like that Ken Carson she is engaged to, he is such a dope. I worry he will never do anything with his life except for continuing to be a model. My Barbie has so many ambitions, she wants to be a vet, a teacher, an astronaut, a baby doctor, a ballroom dancer, a snowboarder, the lead of a rock band, a race car driver…the sky is the limit with Barbie – she can be anything she wants to be, but I feel like Ken is dragging her down. They have been dating since grade school, and I want her to experience life without Ken.”
Mr. Roberts and I spoke for a while about Barbie, Ken, relationships, friends and life. He loved Ken. He knew that Ken was a good man and would make sure that every dream, wish and whim that Barbie had would be taken care of. He knew deep in his heart that Barbie would have a very full life. Barbie is the oldest of the Roberts kids. Mr. Roberts was blessed with all girls, five of them! This was the first time he was “giving his daughter away,” and that act is one of the most difficult for fathers around the world.
A week later, I met with Barbie, Ken and her parents. Ken and Mr. Roberts are all buddy-buddy, sharing jokes and pats on the back. I don’t remember much about the rest of the planning because it was easy, elegant and fun – there were no fights and there weren’t any meltdowns. The wedding was beautiful and so was the bride.
I think my afternoon with Mr. Roberts was a culmination of stress, worry, caring, and love for his daughter. It is a delicate dance that fathers and daughters do throughout life. Fathers are the men that we love and we trust from the beginning. They are the guys we call when we have a flat tire or a leaky pipe, but when those phone calls stop, it has to be awfully hard for a dad.
But I do think of her often and hope that she is happy. I hope that her life is filled with love and laughter. I hope that her relationship with her father is as strong as ever.
The week after the wedding, I did get a very large flower arrangement and kind letter from Barbie’s father thanking me for everything I did for him and his daughter. I would encourage anyone thinking of being a wedding planner to also take a few psychology classes, some comfortable chairs in your office and a healthy supply of boxed Kleenex.
Until next time!
I Do Expert