This has been a hard and happy week. I dropped my third child off at college. All three drop-offs were happy and sad occasions – happy for your child’s next step on their adventure and sad knowing they are gone from our house. This one was the hardest one yet (I still have one more to go in a few years).
Maybe it’s because it was my only daughter. Maybe it’s because she didn’t make her senior year as tough on my wife and I as her older brothers. I kept thinking about my last post on every adventure requiring a first step. This didn’t make it any easier even though I am so happy for her to take on her new adventure.
I have gone through a mix of emotions—pride, nostalgia, excitement, and a touch of bittersweet sentiment. As a parent, it feels like a culmination of years spent nurturing, guiding, and watching your child grow into a young adult. While this is not an end to my parenting journey with her, it’s a significant turning point in both of our lives.
My daughter is stepping onto the threshold of independence. It feels good to know she is ready to embark on her new chapter. Her decisions and experiences moving forward will shape her identity and future. It reminded me that my role as her father is evolving. It’s transitioning from a constant presence to (hopefully) a guiding force, providing support from a distance as she navigates the challenges and opportunities of college and young adulthood.
Despite what feels like a whirlwind of emotions, it reminded me of the dynamic nature of time. In the past few weeks I felt like I was watching a montage of memories as the date to drop her off approached, from her first steps to her high school graduation, all converging into this significant moment. The process of dropping her off at college underscores the passage of time, the fleeting nature of childhood, and the importance of treasuring each phase of life. The experience prompted reflection on the unique bond I have with her, one that is evolving as she starts her next chapter.
Of course, watching her transition to college also brings me a sense of anticipation and hope. The campus holds so many possibilities including new friendships, and a world of knowledge waiting to be explored. I feel I have shifted to supporting her as she takes her first steps into a world of self-discovery and growth. For now the separation feels challenging, but following her on her journey towards independence I know she is prepared for the adventures that lie ahead.
My experience dropping my daughter off at college was a profound experience blending love, nostalgia, and the beauty of watching a young person take flight. As she immerses herself in the world of academia and expands her horizons, I’m trying to adapt to this large change in our home. The experience reminded me, as Ferris Buller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in while, you could miss it.” Remember how important being present is in the short time you have with people.