I write this on a dark airplane late at night on my birthday. It is at once the most consequential and inconsequential birthday of my life because who really cares about birthdays on the day you leave your youngest child a thousand miles away at college?
We began the college search process a long time ago, and it was a brilliant success. All the lists, tutors, visits, tests, applications, and t-shirts produced the perfect outcome. It was also a blast. The parent-child memories extend from a Dairy Queen in Wisconsin to an anarchist bookstore in San Francisco to crab cakes in a Maryland bar to, in the end, Seattle. As the credit card commercial says, priceless. It turns out that the credit card statement is more specific.
It may be an act of will that I am happy tonight. How can you already miss someone like crazy and still be touchdown-celebration happy for this person who held your heart from the moment you first held her when she was two seconds old?
I suspect it is love. Pure, unselfish, father-daughter love.
Several friends want to know what today feels like so they can prepare. For me, it feels great. Well, great, with a touch of nausea. Yes, I’d say three parts great and one part nausea. After all these years, what a great and slightly nauseating day this turned out to be.