We had everybody together for the 4th of July, almost. "Everybody" here means my parents, my siblings and their families. My sister Dorisa and her husband Rob are expecting their fifth child in December, which makes seventeen grandchildren for my Mom and Dad. The one body missing from this grand family gathering was their first grandchild, my eldest daughter, my Beanie Belle, DoRena. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and they are right. She was conspicuous by her absence, and I found myself missing her more than usual all day. Not that she was avoiding the rest of us, by no means. She’s in the midst of summer school, and on top of that had several other obligations this week. I’ll be seeing her at a wedding this weekend, and I am looking forward to that opportunity.
DoRena did call us on the phone in the course of the day, and she was able to chat with almost everyone that way. Her Mom and I have especially enjoyed and appreciated her phone calls lately, because there is much excitement in the works for our Bean. We were all the more tickled to have a second call from her on the 4th, later in the evening. Can’t say that I was entirely surprised, but I was no less delighted.
This past Sunday, we were pleased to have her boyfriend Sam at Emmaus. Coming out of church at the end of the Divine Service, he indicated that he was hoping to visit with me a bit, at my home, following Bible class. There were some questions he wanted to ask me. Now, as it turns out, Sam’s maternal grandfather died this past Saturday; in fact, he and DoRena are attending that funeral on the 5th. So, Sam and I did chat about that, and rightly so. Sam is also looking forward to beginning his seminary field work this fall, and he was interested in discussing those prospects with me, as well. But I gathered there was more to our conversation than even these important matters.
The thing is that my whole family loves Sam, and any time he visits our home he is surrounded by adoring young children. So, picture the scene of my conversation with Sam this past Sunday. He’s got Oly’anna on his lap, wishing with all her little heart that Sam would read to her, or listen to her read. In addition, there’s Frederick and Justinian hovering about, grinning from ear to ear to have Sam around. I suspect that he was feeling a little awkward, therefore, about the remainder of the conversation he wanted to have with me. I did my best to cooperate and not make things more difficult. (Suitors of my younger daughters should not make any presumptions on this basis. Daddy’s do have their prerogatives.)
Sam observed that, with DoRena transferring from I.U. in Bloomington to Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne (after this next regular semester), people were starting to wonder and ask questions about her future plans. I indicated that, yes, her Mom and I were also aware of these things. I inquired whether there was any particular game plan or time table in place. It was at that point that Mr. Sam Wirgau very politely and respectfully expressed his desire to ask my daughter’s hand in marriage. I felt like I had just woken up in the middle of a grand old movie. To answer the question, I gave him my blessing, and I reaffirmed (what I trust he already knew) that both my wife and I are delighted by all of this.
To back up a bit, LaRena and I actually spotted Sam as a good man for our Beanie quite a long time ago. We had the opportunity to get to know him over the course of a couple years, at a point in his life when he really would not have been available to court our daughter. When the right time came, we pointed him in her direction, and we left the two of them to figure things out for themselves from there. Specifically, I told Sam that I would be very pleased for him to get to know my daughter, and he took the initiative to follow my lead on that. After several months of friendly communication with her, he then sought my permission to ask DoRena out on a date! That pretty well sealed the deal. After I picked myself up off the floor, I happily told him that it was fine for him to do so, with the one proviso that he treat her as a gentleman should treat a lady. To this he replied that he didn’t know any other way.
As things have progressed, I have kept tabs on developments. It has been such a neat thing for me to share this new stage in my daughter’s life, which is a new thing for me as her Daddy, also. I should say that DoRena is generally rather serious and business-like in her demeanor. Not in a bad way, mind you. It’s just that, most of the time (notable exceptions notwithstanding), she isn’t the giggly girly type. When I have asked her about her thoughts and plans with Sam, however, she has just glowed from the inside-out, and grinned and giggled with the best of them. That, too, has been most precious to me.
So, back to DoRena’s second phone call on the 4th. I had told her earlier in the day to keep me in the loop as things developed. She did, sooner than she had expected (not having known the nature of my conversation with Sam this past Sunday). She called to say that she had a ring on her finger. Not only her words, but also the song in her voice, conveyed to me the happiness that is in her, and that pretty much swept anything else I might have thought to say or ask out of my mind. I was gently chastised by the rest of the family, afterwards, for not having asked any details about the proposal. I do know about the importance of such details, but I was so giddy myself that my brain was thinking only of my princess and her charming fiancé! Turns out that he proposed to her by the lake at the Seminary, during the local fireworks display. Cool.
There’s no date set, but Sam and DoRena are looking at May 2008. Sounds like the wedding will likely be in Fort Wayne. All those details will be worked out in time. For now, I’m just reveling in my daughter’s happiness, and in the blessing God has granted her in the person of a fine young man. When it comes to the cares and concerns of life on earth, I doubt that a Daddy hopes and prays for anything so earnestly as a good man for his daughters. I thank God for hearing and answering my prayers.