Nick and I are married! Yay! December 30th, 2017 definitely ranks in the very top of my most favorite days. The ceremony was beautiful and our reception was so much fun! It is an incredibly humbling experience to be surrounded by so many family members and friends who love and support you. Perhaps I’ll share more about this once I get our pictures back, but this post is about my dad. He’s the guy who came first in my life.
Prior to walking down the isle with my dad I told him, “Please just don’t let me fall!” At this moment in life, I meant this quite literally. Thinking back though, my dad has always been there making sure I never fell too far. He loved me, encouraged me, and quietly portrayed so many characteristics I hope to emulate. My dad is selfless, giving, strong, and very hard working. I’m not sure where I got my exceptional abilities in relaxation, but it definitely was not from him.
When Shawn died though, I fell hard. I know it was difficult for my dad to watch me suffer while he could do little to fix it. He articulated this in his speech–shared here:
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Dave Gonwa, proud father of the bride.
On behalf of my wife Gail and myself, I want to welcome everyone here.
For those of you who have kids, you have to agree that the two things you want for them is health and happiness.
We are very fortunate that all of our kids, their spouses, and grandkids are healthy.
As far as happiness, it’s been a rough road, especially for Lindsay. My kids grew up with the attitude that if something broke, don’t worry – Dad can fix it.
Truth is I couldn’t fix things for Lindsay. I didn’t know how. I found out there are some things I just can’t fix. I knew Lindsay was kind and compassionate, but I also learned how strong, hopeful, and courageous she was to fix things on her own. That’s my girl.
I truly believe Lindsay found her happiness with Nick.
The first time we met Nick was at one of his basketball games. Lindsay must really like this guy, if she wanted us to meet him. On the way to there I was thinking to myself, “Don’t scare him off.” We watched the game and finally met Nick. He shook hands with me, and then me — in my fix-it mode — told him his team could use a little clock management. He’s been coaching for six years, I think he knows this. Remember, don’t scare him off. From then on I just sat back. One weekend, I asked Lindsay where Nick was. She said he was fishing with some friends. Really? Another weekend, I asked Lindsay again where Nick was and she said that he was hunting with some friends. Really? Not that hunting and fishing are criteria to belong to this family, but I do look forward to the day that you can join us in these family traditions. I am proud to call you Son – welcome to our family.
Today would not have been possible without the support of family and friends, many of you who are here today. Thank you.
There is a common bond that holds a family together — we call her Mom and Grandma. I’d like to thank my wife Gail for all she has done to make this a special day for Lindsay and Nick.
While I taught Lindsay about lawn mowers, she taught me about living life – YOLO – good thing she explained it to me in her blog – I had no clue what that meant. Yes, you only live once. Make every minute count. So if everyone can raise their glasses — To Lindsay and Nick – wishing you a lifetime of love, health, and happiness …
…and maybe a few grandchildren for us.
I just want you to know, Dad, that you did have a giant part in helping me heal. All of the qualities I have, you instilled in me. I am who I am because of you (and mom) and I couldn’t be more grateful to be your girl. I love you!
Side note: My lack of public speaking skills also must not come from my dad because he did great!