I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. A boy and girl meet,
they fall in love, he buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say "I do."
I was wrong. That's getting married. A wedding is an entirely
different proposition. I know. I've just been through one. Not my
own. My daughter's. Annie Banks-MacKenzie. That's her married name.
MacKenzie. I'll be honest with you. When I bought this house
seventeen years ago, it cost me less than this blessed event in which
Annie Banks became Annie Banks-MacKenzie. I'm told that one day I'll
look back on all this with great affection and nostalgia. I hope so.
You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable
little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never
imagine. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. How
she used to sit in my lap and lean her head against my chest. She said
that I was her hero. Then the day comes when she wants to get her ears
pierced and she wants you to drop her off a block before the movie
theater. Next thing you know she's wearing eye shadow and high heels.
From that moment on, you're in a constant state of panic. You worry
about her going out with the wrong kind of guys, the kind of guys who
only want one thing--and you know exactly what that one thing is
because it's the same thing you wanted when you were their age. Then
she gets a little older and you quite worrying about her meeting the
wrong guy and you worry about her meeting the right guy. And that's
the biggest fear of all because then you lose her. And before you know
it, you're sitting all alone in a big, empty house, wearing rice on
your tux, wondering what happened to your life. It was just six months
ago that it happened here. Just six months ago that the storm broke.
Annie had been studying for her Masters in Architecture for the past
semester in Rome. I remember I was work walking through the factory.
I own a company called "Sidekicks." We manufacture athletic shoes.
Anyway, I remember how preoccupied I was that day.
Sorry, Mr. Banks.
My fault, Grace.
Annie had never been that far away from home and she was due back any
minute. I couldn't wait to see the kid.
George, she landed!
My daughter. Been studying abroad. Been flying for eleven hours. I'm
not wild about her being in the air. You got kids, Juan. You
understand. It's better when they're on the ground.
I've always been a concerned parent. I'm big on car seats, seat belts,
bed times, curfews, calling when you get somewhere, never running with
a sharp object. What can I say? I'm a father. Worrying comes with
Is Nina picking her up at the airport?
And you're going to meet them?
Yeah. I'm going home right now. Where are my keys?
Here. And sign this.
Okay, thanks...Oh, and this.
Bring her by.
I left work early because I had a little something to pick up for
Annie's homecoming. We live in a small town in Southern California
called San Marino. I love this town, and not just because it's the
kind of place where people still smile at each other but because it
hasn't changed much in the past twenty-five years. And since I'm not a
guy who's big on change, this town fits me like a glove. I got Annie's
ten-speed all cleaned up and polished. New seat, new tires...I
couldn't wait to show it to her. This is our house. 24 Maple Drive.
Annie was just in grammar school when we bought it. A few years later,
we got a surprise package. Our son, Matt. I love this house. I love
that I taught my kids to ride their bikes in the driveway. I love that
I slept with them in tents in the backyard. I love that we carved our
initials in the tree out front. This house is warm in the winter, cool
in the summer, and looks spectacular with Christmas lights. It's a
great house. I never want to move. But the thing I think I like best
about this house are the voices I hear when I walk through the door.