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Almost twenty five years ago, I carried nearly a ten pound baby down the hall in the hospital to be weighed for the first time. Her name was Madison Elizabeth Cutherell. All I knew was that she was the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen. Part of me was full of excitement and part of me was full of fear as I knew my life would never be the same.

Today as I write my blog I am only three days away from her walking down the aisle and getting married. Where in the world did those twenty five years go? A lot of life has been lived since that beautiful day in November of 1986. Madison has grown up to be an amazing, beautiful woman who continues to amaze and fills my heart with love every day.

I think first born babies have a certain personality because they are the ones that parents get to “cut their teeth” on. I am a first born baby, so I always related to Madison in that way. We were the ones that cleared the forest for the other kids in our family…..I know I did. By the time my two brothers had come around, I had gone toe to toe with my Dad so many times they just walked through the path in the forest I cut. Madison is the same way. She is the organizer, the connector, and as most of us who know her love to recognize, she loves to be the boss……just like me.

This ritual of marriage is certainly different as a parent and especially different as a parent of the bride. I have shared with her and my close friends that it has been hard for me to realize she will no longer carry my name (even though she is going to keep it legally). I am also walking her down the aisle and handing her over to her new husband Andy and as my ritual bond is released, theirs is formed.

I have seen a lot of women walk down the aisle, and yet this one is different…very different. I have never had to let go of a daughter before and bless another man to care for her and her for him…..I was always the alpha male in her life.

I knew this day was coming and as an old friend and mentor once told me as we were walking down the trail one day…… he said “ you see those two trees, make a choice to walk between them and know that your life will never be the same.” I did, and something shifted that day for me because in one fateful step I let go, and I accepted change. As when I first held her and now when I walk Madison down the aisle I know that my life will never be same and I with love, joy, sadness, hope and faith in my heart I will embrace my new place in her life. I am so blessed.

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