Giving Her Away

I guess I really never thought this would happen so quickly, but it is here. This is the week of my oldest daughter Tabitha’s wedding. It’s going to be busy all week. Plans have already been happening, but it is down to the wire now and it’s really starting to sink in for Ellen and me.
I doesn’t seem that long ago that we were leaving the hospital with her. She came into the world on October 7, 1987. She was a beautiful baby–not all babies are you know, but this one was. She was the first of what would be seven grandchildren for my mom and dad. They sure let her know it.
Tabitha did like many first children and learned quickly. She did many things early in life. She walked quickly, talked quickly. She was very coordinated. She learned in school very well and was never, at any time, any trouble. When she turned six, we started playing softball. She even did well at that. Every kid in our family did the same. We’ve spent many hours on a baseball or softball field–some of the happiest times in life. A bad day on the ball field is better and a good day at work!
She joined the band in the sixth grade and played the drums (smart kid). Little did we know that the drumline would be something that affected all of our kids lives in some way. Danielle and Brandon played in the drum line, and Britney was inspired to be a part of the color guard. The Muscle Shoals High School band program was a huge part of our lives.
She came to us at the age of nine and wanted to be baptized. That seemed very young to us, but she insisted and with her family present, I baptized her into Jesus at Cox Boulevard.
From the moment we found out that Tabitha was coming into the world, we prayed that God would be preparing someone for her to spend the rest of her life with. We prayed that he would be the kind of husband for our daughter who not only would take care of her physical needs, but would take care of her spiritually and keep her close to God. She dated a couple of guys who, at least in our hearts, were not that. She finally met Thomas and we felt good about this guy from the start.
Thomas and Tabitha met on the internet. That kind of scared us, but when we met him, those fears left us. He has such a genuine heart and loves Tabitha so much. He is a quiet spirit who works hard and most of all loves the Lord. One of the first things he told me was that his favorite musical group was Casting Crowns. I knew then that, at the very least, he had good taste in music.
As time went on, Thomas came to me and asked me if I thought he’d make good “son-in-law material.” It was not long after that conversation he ask me if he could ask Tabitha to marry him. I gave him permission, and he did. They set the date for December 12.
After setting the date, at some point their morals relaxed and they got pregnant with Robert. Though it was very disappointing, we are now glad to have our grandson. Tabitha and Thomas decided to wait till their wedding date to get married. Some liked that and some didn’t. I thought it was the mature thing to do. But I digress.
This Saturday will bring joy and sadness for me. People say, “You are not losing a daughter, you are gaining a son-in-law.” While that is true, it’s going to seem strange for me to walk that beautiful person down the aisle and give her away.
I’m giving her away to a good man, but still losing her to decisions and situations in life that will no doubt be difficult, but that’s just the way of it all. I’m giving her away to have her cleave to another guy and build a family of their own. I’ve seen other men do the same for their daughters and somehow it didn’t have the same effect on my life.
So, to our Tabitha I say this, “Woo Woo, I love you. I know you are just moving a mile away, but in my heart it will seem ten thousand miles. I know you are marrying a good man who will take care of you, but know that we will always be here for you both. I know that you are going to have and create a beautiful family for yourself, Thomas, and Robert, but know this–our daily home life will have an empty spot that only a Woo Woo could fill. We love you and will always have a place where you and your family can belong.”
(Genesis 2:24 NCV) “So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body.”


5 responses to “Giving Her Away

  • Tabitha

    I just sat here and cried. You and mom have always been there for me and although I made a LOT of mistakes, ya’ll did a wonderful job. : ) I have had such an amazing life so far and know that this is not the end, just a new chapter! Thank you so much for this blog dad, you’re awesome! And mom…I don’t know what I would do without you. My prayer is that me and Thomas can be as wonderful for Robert as you both were for me. I love you so much!

    Your Woo Woo!

  • gregengland

    Having done Josh and Heather’s wedding, I know a little about a child leaving home to start a home with another. I suspect is vastly different when that child is a daughter. Though that moment is somewhere in the future (if at all … she seems content not to be serious with anyone right now as she continues her graduate work), I am content to leave it in the future for now! Hope everything goes well for the wedding and for the new family. Much love to you and your family, Keith.

  • cwinwc

    Excuse me Keith,
    Hi Tabitha. It was cool to see you respond to your Dad’s post about you. May God bless you in your marriage and your family.

  • Meowmix

    Tabitha: ditto what Cecil said!

    Keith, my prayers are with you and Ellen and the rest of the family. This was a beautiful tribute to your beautiful daughter and grandson and for that son-in-law who will become a son. God bless.

  • Bekki

    Keith! I just read all about Tabitha and am so happy for her (and y’all). I cannot believe she is old enough to be married – she’s supposed to be in elementary school, still! I was so glad to find you and Ellen on fb and now see your blog. Your family will always have a special place in my heart. I see that y’all are doing well. Your children are beautiful. Write back and let me know what y’all are doing now. My husband and I are in Salt Lake City with our two pups. Its pretty here but verrry Mormon. :o) Anyways, again – GREAT to find you. XOXO

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