DEAR ABBY: I disagree with your advice to "Lisa in California" that she should have her grandfather and father walk her down the aisle. Her father gave up any rights or honors of being a father when he walked out on her when she was 2 years old.
I have lived through a similar situation. When I got married, I certainly did not have my father give me away or even attend my wedding, for that matter. If her father is sincerely sorry for the way he has acted, he should understand her feelings and tell her that he completely understands and agrees that her grandfather deserves the honor. After all, the grandfather was the one who was part of her life when the father chose to walk away. I also disagree with your suggestion that she could walk alone. Why should she?
I have never regretted my decision and I've been married 15 years. Even after my father's death three years ago, I had no regrets.
In this situation and my own, the fathers were the adults and made their own adult decisions. Now it's time for her father to act like the adult he is and take what is handed to him. -- M.A.D.N., DOUGLASSVILLE, PA.
DEAR M.A.D.N.: If you have never regretted your decision, then you made the right one for you. I was surprised at the number of readers who disagreed with my answer -- although not everybody did. Read on for a different perspective:
DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Lisa," who does not want her father to walk her down the aisle or even to attend her wedding. My parents divorced when I was an infant. By the time I was in high school and college, our relationship had diminished to practically zero. My stepfather, who had been a wonderful "Dad" since I was 6, walked me down the aisle. I do not regret giving that honor to my stepfather, who had been -- and still is -- always there for me. But I wish I had handled it differently for my father's sake.
My father and I have since restored our relationship. We both know we have hurt each other and don't want it to happen again. Most of it was due to lack of communication. I thought he no longer loved me or wanted me around; he thought I didn't want him in my life. Both of us were terribly wrong.
Lisa, if you even think you MAY want a relationship with your father someday, please do as Abby suggested. Include him in your big day. Let him escort you down the aisle with your grandfather, or walk down the aisle by yourself with both of them sitting in the pews beaming with pride. -- J.M. IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR J.M.: I admire your compassion, even though it came to you from the perspective of hindsight. There was, however, a third alternative that both you and I did not consider. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: On the evening of my daughter's rehearsal dinner, she took her father aside and told him she had thought long and hard about her wedding day, and after reflecting on her childhood had reached a decision. She said, "Daddy, even though you have not been a big part of my life so far, I love you. However, we both know who has earned the honor of giving me away."
She went on to say that the honor of walking the bride down the aisle belongs to the person who guided her through childhood, late-night studies, heartbreaks and triumphs.
When the minister asked, "Who gives this woman to this man?" I proudly said, "I do!" -- THE PROUDEST MOM IN TENNESSEE