Some 34 years ago I fell in love, and a couple of short years later wrote a poem about it:
All of 2 & 1/2
all smiles and curls
forward and shy
She turns to me her full attention
with single-minded open innocence
and says "Kiss me, Daddy, I love you."
I know then, beyond death and forever
I am in love too,
in the truth of the moment.
We have traveled far since than magic moment on the steps at our rented house on Franklin Street in Lincoln, NE, and on Sept. 5 this year, she publicly took into her heart another man, one David Ku.
It was a lovely wedding at the courthouse in Freehold, NJ, with just immediate family present; her mother Dominique and husband David with his daughter Julia, Tracy & I, Dave’s mother Diana, Erik & Solana and their two daughters, Sophia and Lena.
Erik & Solana had rented a house a couple of blocks up from Neptune Beach in Neptune, NJ where we all stayed for a couple of days, and where Scott, one of Dave’s uncles (a professional photographer), took the official wedding pictures the day before the wedding.
There was one glitch that came to light as Tracy and I were unloading our car and Tracy asked, “Roger, where is the garment bag?” I had loaded the car. I had also left the garment bag in our closet at home, in Florida. Not the best idea.
Luckily for us (for me at least) there were a couple of consignment shops open in Neptune on this Labor Day, and, through no good grace of my own, they had a beautiful dress that fit Tracy nicely. One of the three suits on the rack fit me, and Dominique’s husband loaned me a tie. Go figure.
We then had an amazing rooftop dinner at Teak, a restaurant in NJ where Pete, a friend of Dave’s is part owner. They pulled out all the stops, and I lost track of the courses as they came; sushi, salmon, pot stickers, chicken, and Dominique made two cakes to top it all off. Malia’s brother Erik gave an amazing tribute to his sister toward the end of the meal, heartfelt, poignant and well-delivered through some tears.
Dave’s grandparents from his mother’s side were there from Atlanta along with the photographer uncle and his wife Christine and their daughter Sarah, as was Dave’s father, Bon, his brother Danny and his daughter Sophia, and our family.
Tracy & I sat across from Dave’s Uncle Mike, an attorney in NYC, his wife Judy, also an attorney in NYC and their daughter Maddy. Fun couple to get to know a little bit. Turns out they met on opposite sides of a case in court; he was the prosecuting attorney, she was the public defender.
But two families were joined in celebration, in the profession of love, one person to another. And in truth, that’s where it counts. That’s from where all the decisions that matter originate, from that bond of love one to another.
Dave is a good man, in my humble estimation. He loves my daughter, and she him, and that’s really all that matters to me. I’m not giving a daughter away; that can’t happen.
I wrote another poem just after Malia took time to visit me in Belize where Tracy and I were serving in the Peace Corps. We had a wonderful time, and then she was off:
…on watching you walk through airport security.
I wrapped my arms
my little girl.
And I was so aware
of how little I could do
to protect you
from that world
But for just this one instant
with my arms around you
I felt I could keep you safe
from all of it
heartache, and worry and bills
and missed planes, blizzards
for just that minute
I had my Dad arms
around us both;
And you straightened
we dried our tears
you walked away through security
without a backward glance;
good for you.
I miss you terribly right this instant.
And yet know
you are not mine
just on loan
such a short loan
but for love and
that you have always.
You don’t need my protection now;
you have all you need, and then some,
intelligence, wit, beauty
You have no reason
for anything less than your own dream.
out of the snow and ice
into the sun of your own time
you have much to offer.
I am so proud of you
proud you are my daughter
and of the woman you are.
I love you so….Dad
Mr. & Mrs. David Ku