Saturday, July 30, 2011


Well I take on a new title today, father in law. It's much like following your wife through a pregnancy and all of a sudden a child appears, and someone says your a father and your world has in a moment changed forever.
It was a beautiful wedding. Seven bridesmaid, seven groomsmen, attendants and flower girls and ring bearers and ushers, photographers, and videographers it was a crowded room in a unbelievably adorned church all before a sanctuary filled with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and hundreds of others to be named later.
Brock and Miranda photo by Kelly Sandstedt

The thing that brought it all together though was the pastor. A missionary from the Philippines that flew half way round the world to perform this sacred ceremony between man and woman. What makes a guy like this so special? He was once a youth pastor in the church where the bride and groom attended during their high school years, he gave them religious guidance but much more than that he gave them friendship, a bond that followed them though college and more. Why did this man become the defining factor in what was the most beautiful wedding ceremony the world has seen in this century? (I was married in the last century so I can say this without getting into trouble.) He loved the two people he came to marry, it showed in his sermon, it showed in his touch and it showed when he became choked up when the vows written by the bride and groom were said. In a world where most senior pastors preform this ceremony for people they barely know, this was truly a blessing from God to the now married couple. He spoke of knowing them as children, how he watched them grow separately and together of the hardships they shared with him and how they always made smart and right decisions along the way. As he said this I knew he was right and they proved it by making a smart decision to chose this man to do their wedding. He was loving and compassionate, he knew them like no one else would, he told their story. He prayed with them silently and rejoiced with them loudly. This Pastor Jerome Sack, did it not for money or personal gain of any kind, he did it because it was right, for him and them. They love him and he loves them, this is what a wedding should always be like.
I sat there in my tux, looking older than I had only minutes before, tears welled in my eyes. I felt great pride. This couple belongs together but not only that, they showed the world what a true love relationship should be. After 9 long years of being together from childhood to adult, this is only the beginning for them. They turned in traditional style, kissed and were introduced as Mr. and Mrs Brock Andrew Smith.
Now it is a new beginning for me. I am a father-in-law. I have a new child and she is beautiful. My wife and I will love her and cherish her as we have the four that came before her. In the years to come she plans to change my title again to grandparent and I am more than okay with that.
We left the church and made it to the reception hall. The wedding party left by limo and would arrive to join us an hour later. They were introduced one by one, the first to the show were the ushers who led all into the church as the music played and they danced their way in; one did a round house into a back flip and the party was on.
Much of the rest of the night was a blur. Not because I consumed more alcohol than I should have (I did) but because the pats on the back came, the congratulations on the fine wedding and the fine children that were the object of it all. It was amazing how it all came together, the number of people it took and how two families that barely know each other, yet could join as one to make it a spectacular evening for all. As is the case with all weddings, the older crowd gave way to the younger crowd as the evening progressed. (Not sure when it happened but I am now part of the older crowd) The dance floor was wall to wall people in the early evening but by the late late evening only the die hards persisted.
The time had come to take it all down and put it away. The decorations were stored. The left over food was boxed for another day. We took out the trash and turned out the lights. The day was done and it was good. There were a few bumps along the way but that is a story for another day. Right now it was the perfect wedding day. Congratulations to my son Brock and his new bride Miranda.  I am proud to call him son and her daughter-in-law. I hope I stand the test of time as a good father-in-law.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Father of the Groom

It is an exciting time in the life of the family when a child gets married. He will always be a child to me even though he will be 23 in a couple of weeks and start his second year of law school soon after that. He/We have been blessed with a bride that has been part of our family for many years. They started dating in junior high. The wedding planning has been mostly done by the bride and her family but as the father of the groom I have had a little to do.
Planning the rehearsal dinner is the responsibility of the groom’s family and we take it seriously to put on a good show, especially for out of town guest. So what can we do to give them a little taste of Kansas City? Why provide Smoke House Barbecue and Boulevard beer. Two of our local favorites. Although we live a little ways away we will host the gala at Heritage Hall just off the square in the big small town of Liberty, Missouri. There might just be a little surprise entertainment if it all works out the right way.

His mom has been busy as well, buying etched glassware with their names and the date to memorialize the day, A take home item for each guest. She continues to buy gift after gift to help pave the way to a new household. She hired the limo service that will take them from the church. She has met with the bride’s mother to plan other things as well. It all seems very complicated. The wedding party is large and there will be more than 300 guests from all over the country.
I am just a dad; we are not built to pick out decorations and plates and organize food and make sure everyone is dressed the right way. I have even struggled with the idea of renting a tux to match the rest of the group when I have one hanging in the closet at home. I have argued with my son over little things like the invitation list, leaving out several relatives that I would like to have come. But it's not about me, there is a budget, although I am not sure anyone has really stuck to it. With each new idea brings a new bill and a new responsibility for someone to check off their list.

The new and soon to be in-laws are good people and we enjoy their company and there is a lot to be said for that. It makes it easier when decisions have been difficult. Budgets have been managed and responsibility has been divided among us. The bride has taken the lead to keep everyone in line. I think the groom is probably the most difficult of all. He has been very spoiled by parents that love him and have paved the way for his success. He does things in his own time and his own way but they will get done as long as he sees value in doing it.
The wedding is in 10 short days, the rehearsal the night before. Many things need to fall in place still and I think they will. We will have a son returning from Chicago, another from Florida. We will all be together for the first time this summer. It will be a grand and memorable time.

The future for our kids seems very bright indeed for the time that we live in. They will live in Lincoln, Nebraska for the time being as he finishes law school at Husker U. She has a good job there and their home is set up and waiting for them to return from the honeymoon somewhere in the far reaches of the land called Mexico.
I am a simple man, with simple needs; one of those is for my children to be happy. So I wish them all the happiness in the world and God's speed through an incredible life together. I take on one more title in the many that I have had in this lifetime: The Father of the Groom.