“It is just a mix of lots of different emotions,” Bagnell said. “She’s just graduated college, which we’re very proud of her for. [She has] worked very hard. She’s always been a real self-directed and self-motivated [person] and sees a goal and takes it by the horns and makes it happen. And, I guess, the wedding has proved to be the very same.
“So for me, yes, it’s exciting. It’s very expensive, so that brings a lot of stress, but we are anxious for it to get here and I want it to be all that she wants it to be. But [when I] start thinking about walking her down the aisle, [then I] begin to get a little choked up. So [there are] lots and lots of different emotions.”
Echoing Bagnell’s sentiments, Hufstetler also is going through a mix of emotions as his daughter plans her wedding.
“Well, my first reaction is I hate it. I don’t like the idea of giving up my daughter, that she won’t be around the house anymore, that she will have a life outside of our home,” said Hufstetler, whose family also — along with the Bagnells — attend Tabernacle Baptist in Cartersville. “But, as the football player Don Meredith said, ‘If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.’ That has always been one of my favorite quotes, and something I have always told my kids, so I guess I have to listen to it, too. Really, though, I am excited about her getting married and the man that she is marrying. I can see through her faith and his that they will be very happy together. It’s exciting to be the father of the bride, to see the planning stages of the wedding. We got started at the first of the year, and now we are close to being six months away. It has gone by so fast. Before we know it, she will be gone. From the engagement party to needing my approval for the wedding gown, this process will continue until walking her down the aisle on January the 3rd.
“When Abbey was little, she didn’t sleep much until she was 4 years old. I rocked her for countless hours trying to get her to sleep. She would always say, ‘Sing that song!’ and I would sing The Carpenters’ song, ‘Close to You.’ I’ll be thinking about that as I walk her down the aisle. And that’s when it will become very final, that my little girl will no longer come home at night.”
Like Hufstetler, Bagnell will be reliving many memorable moments as he accompanies his daughter down the aisle this month.
“There are many, many different moments that come to mind for her ... [for example] her first dance recital,” said Bagnell, who raised three daughters with his wife, Lisa: Kimberly, 22,Ashlee, 20, and Brittany, 19.“I remember taking her to kindergarten on her first day, walking her to the classroom and just watching her just kind of take over. She has always been very independent, been always kind of a leader even in kindergarten. ... I remember the day she gave her heart to Christ. ... She was about 6 years old and we were riding in the car together just me and her and she told me what she wanted to do and, I guess, for me that’s the most important moment that I can see in her life, the most important decision she had to make other than [who] she [is going] to marry.
“... Technology is what I do, but the most important job I have, even though they’re grown, is being a dad and a husband. ... It’s a challenge,” he said about being a father in today’s world to three daughters. “It’s very hard to do but hard things are worth doing.”
Also the father of a son, Brock, who is a senior in college, Hufstetler said he has enjoyed taking an “interactive part” in his children’s lives.
“The thing I enjoy most about being a father is seeing my children do well throughout the years in all their activities and performances,” Hufstetler said. “I love seeing how they carry themselves around others and seeing them interact with other people; to see them grow into young adults and help others. I have had the privilege of volunteering at church, sports and 4-H activities that they were participants in, and watching them learn how to interact with their peers and adults. I love seeing my kids have the patience to work with those who are younger than them.
“I have been blessed to be the father of two children who have been very active and accomplished their goals in many outside activities in addition to succeeding in schoolwork. There are a lot of great parts about being a dad, but there is always work to do, too. Those last minute requests from both of my kids — ‘air in my tires, gas in my car, bring me money (or snacks or homework), don’t tell mom but I ...’ — make my job as ‘Dad’ stressful. But when it gets down to it, it’s all worth it, and I’m glad that they know they can call me.”
Hufstetler continued, “... I think it is important to be involved in what your kids are doing, and I feel that I have been blessed to have been part of their lives. It is exciting to see that both of my children have grown in their faith from a young age into the young adults they are today. I am proud of what Abbey and Brock have accomplished, and I look forward to watching them as they reach adulthood and have families of their own one day.”
Describing her father as “one of the most caring, loyal individuals you will ever meet,” Abbey Hufstetler, 23, is cherishing the opportunity to reside back at her family’s Cartersville residence prior to her wedding and strengthen the ties with her mother, Myra, and father.
“I still live at home with my family. Since I’ve been home from college, daddy and I have joined the choir together at church and started commuting to work together since we both work in Rome,” Abbey Hufstetler said. “This has been fun for us, because it gives us more time to spend together. Though sometimes I may take an extra cat nap during our trip to Rome ... it also gives us time to talk or work on music together for choir at church, or just listen to some of our favorite artists.
“Marrying Matt is so exciting; I truly couldn’t have asked for a kinder, more loving man to spend my life with,” she said. “I am so very blessed to be marrying a man who loves the Lord and desires to lead me in following Him. But it is certainly bittersweet to think about all of the changes that will come along with it. Growing up, my parents have both always been so supportive, and we have always been close. Getting to be at home for the last year and a half has given me time to develop an even stronger relationship, now that I am a little more mature and can appreciate it more. Age truly does increase wisdom and maturity. But, I’m not one who normally deals well with change.
“This one is particularly interesting, because for once, I’m actually excited about this change, but it’s also hard to think about all the things that won’t be the same after January. I will miss my dad’s Sunday morning waffles, driving to Rome together, watching my dad’s favorite movie, ‘National Treasure,’ whenever it comes on TV, going to church together and playing cards late at night with the whole family. It will be a big adjustment, for sure, because I know our relationship will change on some level. But he will always be my daddy, and I will always be his baby girl.”
With her wedding around the corner, Kimberly Bagnell referred to this time in her life as exciting and chaotic. Since she and her future husband will be residing nearby, she is looking forward to being able to maintain many of her daily routines and connections with her immediate family.
“We’re just moving to Rome, so we’re still going to be close and going to be able to stay at Tabernacle [Baptist], where we go to church and all that, but it’s going to be very different because for the first time I won’t be living with my parents besides living in a college dorm room,” Kimberly Bagnell said. “... But it is exciting and I am very excited to start the new chapter of my life. My dad has been nothing but supportive and loving and kind, just very generous in everything that he’s done for me in this time.
“... My dad is a very caring person. He is a very honest and genuine person. ... He’s always very cautious about his character, which is a quality that I look up to and honor greatly. What I love about spending time with my dad is we always have a good time. Actually just this last week, we went to the Atlanta Symphony and we were able to enjoy a night of opera together, which is not something that most father/daughters get to enjoy together but it’s something that we both love and it’s a passion we share. ... We just have a good time together but he’s still my dad, and I know that he’s going to protect me and that he’s going to love me no matter what happens.”