Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

...and on a personal note...

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 22, 2012

Twice in the past month, I’ve escorted a daughter into church to meet her waiting bridegroom—in both cases, thank God, a young man I not only like but admire. Yes, it’s been a busy month. (And I trust you’ll understand if I haven’t been writing as much commentary as usual.)

It’s difficult to describe all the thoughts and emotions that run through a father’s consciousness during that trip down the aisle: thoughts about my own marriage, about the cute little girl who has been mysteriously transformed into a beautiful young woman so quickly, about the swift passage of the years, about the excitement and joy on my daughter’s face, about my enormous pride in my family, about my hopes for the family that is now being born. So many different feelings! There’s an undeniable pang in the realization that my little girl isn’t my little girl anymore, even while the happiness of the occasion washes any trace of sadness away.

Two beautiful weddings; two joyous celebrations. Now in the calm aftermath I try to make sense of what it all means to my family, and I stumble across this bit of wisdom from—of all people—my wonderful wife Leila, reflecting on her own blog about the greatest joys of being a parent:

There is suffering and disappointment; and there are moments when you just don't think you will make it, in the sense that you can't imagine how these fairly intractable people with their headlong refusal to mold themselves into an approved happy family vision, and especially yourself with all your faults and failings (and not to mention the world beating down on you), will come together in some sort of cohesive unity. And then one day, by the grace of God, they do. And you do. And you are you, the collective you that you were trying to be, only at the same moment -- like a wave on the sand that retreats before it quite reaches the tide line -- they have their eye on another shore.

But it's all good.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Jun. 26, 2012 12:45 AM ET USA

    ...ready to come sailing back home. And a child's love is always there, ready to be the wind in the sails of that journey, wherever it leads.

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Jun. 26, 2012 12:44 AM ET USA

    It was almost two weeks ago exactly that my Dad passed away. One thing I am certain I learned was the total importance of 'til death do us part'. The last 6 weeks of his life were on Hospice care unable to care for himself. You might wonder what it all has to do with marriage and parenting. Well, my mother did such a good job caring for him, it was a true lesson for me, the ultimate in parenting. I learned a lot about love and mercy. Their eyes may be on another shore, but the boat is always...

  • Posted by: demark8616 - Jun. 22, 2012 9:45 PM ET USA

    Congratulations to yourself and your family. My first child is getting married this July and I can only echo your wife in her awesome quote above.."..they have their eye on another shore" - as do all married couples who brave the future, just as their parents before them.