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Friday, August 19, 2011

And Then They Grow Up


Last weekend we did something that I had been dreading for many months.  We took our oldest daughter, Madison, off to college for the first time.

As we packed the car on Saturday, you could sense this was not a normal morning.  All business.  No laughter.  “Did you remember to pack this?” or “we can get that when we get there.” were the limits of our interaction.  As we loaded everyone to pull away, Madison began to get emotional...which about set off a chain reaction, but we quickly got everyone on the road.  We all know what’s coming, let’s not start it yet.

The five-hour drive up was uneventful and the evening out for a campus tour and dinner were great.  We went back to the hotel to rest up for the big day...or the day of darkness as I had internally referred to it.  My wife and youngest daughter were staying a couple days longer, but my son and I would assist in the move in the morning and head home.

When Madison was not in the room, my son (16) asked why we were all so emotional.  “I mean, she’s just five hours away and it’s not like we won’t see her again.”  I told him something I believe very strongly.  “Your relationship with your sister will never, ever be the same.”

The kids have always been very close and get along great.  I’m sure some siblings are thrilled to see the others go...not our gang.  I know from personal experience that there will be distance and time that only increases as the weeks, months and year pass.  Then, at some point, something happens that gives you the opportunity to start moving back together.  The reunited may be quick or slow, but will never the same as when you were teenagers...never.

The move went well as everyone was all business.  Not somber, just on a mission to get the place close to comfortable.  By early afternoon, we boys had done all we could do and it was time to head home.  Madison was distracted unpacking something when I simply said “Madi, Parker and I are getting ready to go.”  She looks up and says...”you mean GO, go?”  Unable to audibly respond, I simply nod.  She looks around not knowing what to do next and the tears beginning leaking out of both of us.

I doubt much was said other than “I Love You.”  Hugs and kisses before I decided to go ahead and make a quick exit.  Dragging this out was just making it worse.

The ride back home was quiet.  I think it finally hit Parker that his big sis wasn’t just down the hall anymore.

Each day seems to get a little better.  Well, until I talk to her on the phone which kicks the progress back a day or so.  I’m proud of her and I pray with all my heart that she’s happy there and that she embraces the next chapter of her life.

Just think, I get to do this two more times in the next five years.  I can’t wait!

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace