It seems as if in the first moment, I was holding a wet, wiggling baby girl in my arms. How in the world was I going to handle the challenge of being a father? What lay ahead? Where was this little one headed in the world?
And then, across a blur of days, months, years, there were those other moments, as this little three year old girl would charge my knees each night when I came home from work, shouting my name. The best name I will ever have. Daddy.
In being a parent sometimes you wonder if they will ever grow up, overcome their anxieties and fears, and strike out on their own. But, in time, they do grow up. Oh, do they.
Or those brighter moments, the ones that make you smile when you are driving somewhere in the car, and remember something very funny this remarkable teenage girl said. A sly observation, or a downright hysterical comment. Example: last month we went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Toronto. At first, she thought it was named the Dead Sea Squirrels. Really. Maybe this is why she needs to go to college. I digress.
Turn again, another moment. Here she is at the airport, standing in front of me, very ready to go, 18 years old, and boarding a plane to fly 1,750 miles to Chicago and DePaul University. Who could have imagined this?
On her own, out the door, on her way. If only a bit tentative, yet completely confident, and so "done" with life at our house. Onward with this Journey.
I am stunned, and joyous, and silent, and wondering. What the heck just happened, that drop off at the airport, and how did I end up in this place? This place of departures, yet beginnings. Of bittersweet sadness of parting, yet great joy in the promise of the future for a remarkable young lady.
That little miracle God dropped in our arms 18 years ago; she was a loan, not a purchase; a gift to hold lightly, not a thing to be clutched. Today, she is ready to go, ready to learn, eager to move on. You go girl!
I am pretty sure that there are very few events in life that so clearly illustrate the word bittersweet. We are so thankful for these 18 years, and we look forward to a bright future, full of hope.