Our beloved Brew.

Our beloved Brew.
R.I.P. Big guy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taking My Daughter to College

We spent a couple of glorious days together moving Kailey into her dorm room at Indiana University. Even after moving in bags and bags of clothing, half the possessions in her overcrowded bedroom at home, a variety of new appliances, and an assortment of decorator items, we found we'd overlooked a few things (a toothbrush, personal hygiene items, drinking cups/glasses, extension cords/surge protectors, coaxial cable, etc) and had to make trips to the local hardware store, and Target. But we didn't forget to pack essentials like a week's supply of microwavable macaroni and cheese, the microwave itself, a new HD TV, too many pairs of shoes to wear in a month of Sundays, at least a dozen headbands, and a full array of Audrey Hepburn wall posters. You get the idea -- an 18 year-old did all her own packing.

We had a ball unpacking, assembling, sorting, storing, and moving things around. Adding to the excitement was dinner with the family of her childhood best friend who I haven't seen in a long time, and were there themselves moving into another dorm on campus.

With Kailey's move complete, parting was tense and difficult. Although this wasn't the first time she's been away from home, it certainly felt like the most permanent. My little girl is going out into the world to make her own way. This wasn't as scary as sending her to intern in Washington, DC by herself as we did earlier this summer, but it was every bit as emotional for both of us. I suspect it was hardest for Mom who stayed behind to see that Tate got off to his high school classes and tend to the dogs.

Although we shared a long hug, and "I Love Yous,"neither of us was eager to look the other in the eye because we both knew we'd start crying. After I went for the door and she hurried back to the elevator, I forced myself to call out to her again. I wanted to be sure I looked her in the eye so she could see the love that will always be there for her. And as we have done countless times, I whispered "love you more, love you most."

Although no one would be the wiser if I didn't reveal this, I got slightly off route two times during the ride home. I was still struggling with the shell-shock of letting go and traveling in a bit of an emotional fog.

When I got home, everyone else was out. So after getting the car somewhat back to normal, and unpacking my suitcase, I took a shower. The glass enclosure was foggy, I couldn't see well because my glasses were off, and all of sudden I heard that sweet, familiar voice say "Hi, Daddy!" as she bounded into the bathroom.

At once, my heart soared! My little girl was home! What a pleasant and unexpected surprise! For that brief second, I wasn't even concerned about the logic of it all, or the fact that I had left Kailey 250 miles away just hours earlier. I didn't care how or why she was home, I was just thrilled to have her back! I had never noticed before how similar mother and daughter's voices are. Sandy, my wife, had come home from errands and it was she that was welcoming me. As pleased as I was to see her after a couple of days apart, I felt again like crying when the realization hit me that my sweet child is far away, and life as I have known and treasured it most, with both children under foot, is forever changed. Change is good. Life goes on. But dad is still a little sad.