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Abby & Keith

I already watch these dads as they are walking their little girls down the aisle, giving their daughters away to the men of their dreams, and even as I’m shooting that through the lens I’m asking myself how in the world I’ll ever bring myself to that moment with my own little girl. Granted, she’s only 6 and we’re light years away from from that day, but still, from my end of the camera, I don’t know how I’m going to make it. I mean, that guy standing at the end of the aisle had better be rock solid, a man of all men, stand-up and righteous as the noon day sun, because if he isn’t, how in the world will I place my daughter’s hand in his. I think on this side of life I’d sooner punch any guys lights out rather than hand over my little peanut, but my guess is that my attitude will soften with wisdom and love as the years push on? I know I was nowhere near that kind of guy when my father-in-law handed me his daughter’s hand. I have no room to speak, and it’s only God’s grace that woke me up to see the immeasurable value of the woman who promised to love me in sickness and in health. So We’ll see. Stubborn runs deep in the Elliott name.

I’ve already got the gun picked out for a friendly-ish day at the shooting range for the first boy who comes to court my baby. By the time things get serious I’ll have a life-sized cardboard cut-out that bears a surprisingly familiar likeness of said boy. Plus, my son should be a 2nd or 3rd degree black belt by that time, so I figure we’ve got the bases covered.

That said, when I meet a bride named Abby, which is my little girl’s name, for some reason there’s an automatic connection. There she stands trusting in me to take her wedding pictures and do a good job, and I certainly will not let her down….but the nicknames, Peaches, Peanut, Baby, Abi-girl, you name it, they all flood in, and I see my little girl in their eyes without fail. The camera in my hand starts to feel like a hundred pounds, and I watch every twitter and twitch in that dad’s eyes with intensity.

You hear people say it and they don’t really mean it, but right now I’m certain that with every step I take down that aisle it will feel like my feet have frozen fast to the floor, and with every gulp of air I take I think there will be a whisper in my breath, saying, “There but by the grace of God go I.”

Here are some images to tell the story of Abby’s day.

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