Brian and one day old Megan.
November 15, 1989
There is no question that Megan is a Daddy's girl. . . And there is no question about the fact that Brian is pretty smitten with her as well.
He always has been.
When Megan was a newborn, Brian would walk in the door, hold his arms out and say, "Where's my girl?" It only took a couple times of jumping into his arms to realize that he didn't mean me - he meant Megan.
But that didn't bother me, I would snuggle on the couch beside him and enjoy him holding his girl.
Knowing how special their relationship is, I knew once Brian relinquished to the idea of Megan getting married . . . which did take a while . . . there would be no end to the lengths he would go to in order to give her the wedding of her dreams.
Once a theme was established for the reception and details were drawn up, Brian set to work making the necessary items. His work order: Fourteen 8-foot wooden trees on which to string lights. Surely there would be plenty of time to devote to these trees in between work, church, Joel's basketball games and tournaments, Christmas . . .
But considering Brian rarely works under favorable conditions (i.e. septic lift pump repair in -30 degree weather, major engine work in the CVS parking lot . . .) this didn't deter him one bit. Thanks to a 1000 candle power flood light bulb perched atop the house, the driveway was transformed into a woodworking center the likes of which Santa could have been proud.
Every night after supper Brian would don Levi's FedEx coveralls, flip on his flood light, and head off to the driveway for an evening of wood working. Most often Megan would come in around 11:00 pm after being out with Adam.
Megan: Those look great Dad!
Megan: It's really cold out here.
Brian: Yes, it is.
Megan: Have you been out here long?
Brian: Came out after supper.
Megan: Well, I'd stay and talk but it's really cold.
Brian: Yes it is. Good night, Megan.
Megan: Good night, Dad. Hey, are those Levi's FedEx coveralls?
Megan: They are really short on you.
Brian: Good night, Megan.
This went on the entire month of December and, faithful Dad that he is, the trees were done in time for the wedding. But there was a pay-off.
Brian was now sick.
Oh, I have given him grief over the years about always being sick on big, important days. A claim that does not go unsubstantiated -
March, 1997 - Our move from M-town to the Hills. Brian is on the couch for 3 days straight with a sinus infection and high fever. The boys, aged 3 and 6, single-handedly cleaned out the basement. You think I am kidding? Sadly, I am not. It is quite shocking how much a 3 year old can carry in a push-comes-to-shove situation.
May, 2008 - Megan's graduation party. Brian comes down with a case of Giardia - he blames it on the ice from McDonalds. All I know is half-way through the evening and WAY before the clean-up, his stomach bloats to the size of a beach ball and he starts making noises I still have nightmares about.
Now, the day before what is possibly the biggest day yet in our lives, Brian is sick.
Brian: Do I feel warm?
Elaine: I don't care if you are warm. We need to get the reception set up.
Brian: I am achy all over. And my chest hurts.
Elaine: Really? You had better take a couple Ibuprofen and pray for healing because we have A LOT of work to do.
I guess I was just doing my impersonation of a Halls Cough Drop - you know, a pep talk in every drop. But still, probably not some of my kinder moments.
But it worked. Brian worked non-stop. From early Thursday morning into Thursday evening - stopping only to attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Then he resumed his work on Friday morning.
Lights were hung, tables and chairs were moved, decorations were set . . . There was no stopping him. He was running on pure adrenalin and love for Megan.
Friday evening came and went. His little girl was given away . . . and his adrenalin with her.
We sat exhausted in chairs while friends and family whisked away table cloths, dirty plates and cups, and organized table decorations into neat piles.
Saturday morning we returned to the church with the daunting task of un-transforming the fairytale hall back into a gym. I laughed and called Brian an old man as he walked hunchbacked and slow across the gym - that would definitely come back to bite me later.
Flash forward 10 days and now I am the one with the fever, cough, and body aches. Lying in bed and feeling horrible, I thought of Brian and how miserable he was during the wedding. I thought I had better apologize.
Elaine (texting): I am sorry you felt so bad during the wedding and still had to do all of that work. I don't know how you did it.
Brian: You made me. That helped.