Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


My Baby Girl, Now A Bride

Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Santa Barbara, California, USA

May 20, 2022

This essay, My Baby Girl, Now A Bride, is the sixteenth in a group of sixteen about my daughter Alexandra:
  1. Alexandra
  2. Babe On The Freeway
  3. Light In The Night
  4. Alexandra II
  5. Santa Barbara
  6. True Gold
  7. Goleta Beach
  8. Getting Into Your World
  9. Fly Baby Bird!
  10. Celebration At Essaouira
  11. The Woman She Creates Herself To Be
  12. City Girl
  13. Vocal Prowess
  14. Lost And Found: A Tale Of Of Ownership, Loss, And Triumph
  15. Girly Girl
  16. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

It is also the twentieth in a group of twenty written in Santa Barbara:
  1. Santa Barbara
  2. Unbelievable
  3. Give Me Money (That's What I Want?)
  4. True Gold
  5. Getting Into Your World
  6. You Say Stop: About Resisting Transformation
  7. The Cavalry's Not Coming
  8. On This Team Everyone's The Leader
  9. Fireside Chat
  10. The Next Best Thing
  11. Full Circle, Full Spiral
  12. Truth, And What's True
  13. Snowflakes In A Furnace
  14. Something In The Air
  15. Vocal Prowess
  16. Flames In My Rearview Mirror
  17. Back Nine
  18. Chess II
  19. But And And II
  20. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

It is also the prequel to a trilogy written in Platt Park, April 2023:
  1. If You Make It Wrong, It's Hard To Let It Go
  2. "Something's Wrong" Isn't Wrong
  3. Bookends II: Times I'm Not
in that order,

It was written at the same time as But And And II.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt Doyle who inspired this conversation and contributed material.

There are milestones. And then there are milestones. My baby girl got married today. It was a milestone. Of the latter kind.

Raising children, when I was in the middle of it, seemed like it would go on forever. There's a gravity, a demand that goeswith  it (as Alan Watts may have said) such that my life wasn't really my own anymore once I became a parent. Instead it was given to prepare my children for life in the world. All of it. I don't know by what yardstick successfully preparing children for life in the world could be measured. Even if there is such a yardstick, I don't know if it's useful to measure by it at all. Yet something profound happened today which may have just epitomized that yardstick, something by which it's useful to measure this particular kind of accomplishment.

The photographer positions me facing the staircase down which my daughter will walk on her way to the bridal car, a racing green 1969 Ford Mustang driven by her brother, which will take her and her fiancé to the courthouse, and asks me to close my eyes. She'll appear in front of me in her wedding dress. And when I open my eyes, I'll see her resplendent in the one she chose for the occasion, for the first time. Standing here, not knowing what to expect, I open my eyes on cue.

There are no words, just my gasp (audible). The beauty of the dress on her, no longer a baby, now a magnificent woman on the verge of being married, hits me like a warm shot to the heart. My consciousness is suddenly crystal clear. I'm beaming from a place where all beamings begin. And I love her. So much. So very, very much.

I see the dress, to be sure. It's awesome, elegant, stylish, totally "her", downplayed in its haute couture, simply the most stunning bride's dress I've even seen. Really. But it isn't the dress that makes me gasp. Partly it's who's wearing  the dress that makes me gasp. She's simply radiant. I see that too. And still it isn't even her radiance that makes me gasp. I've seen her radiance many times before. I know it well. But it's not that. It's who she's being  that makes me gasp. It's awesome to behold. It's what brings me to the edge of tears. It's the expression on her face, directed uniquely at me as I stand in front of her my daughter, her father, job complete, on the verge of giving away this goddess, my best friend, my precious baby girl. I just stand there. And she just stands there, radiant. This is our moment.

Her expression says joyfully "Look Daddy! I've got this. I love you so much!". It's also non-verbally expressing the inclusive "Look how great we  are!" rather than just "Look how great I  am!" (which would have been true anyway). She makes it our  moment by leaning into and sharing with me what's really her  great moment.

"Look Daddy! I can ride a bicycle!" she said when she was about four years old ... and now (fast forward) "Look Daddy! I'm getting married!". It's her unspoken expression "Look Daddy! I've got this. I love you so much!" that I won't ever forget. And it isn't just that now I know I got my job done. It's that now I know she knows  I got my job done, and has taken on life in the world with a family of her own. In this moment, the fact that I've gotten my job done barely registers. Seeing her in front of me, more magnificent than magnificent could or would ever be, is the gasp-inducing vision as I open my eyes onto and see my baby girl, now a bride.

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