Thursday, August 20, 2009
Letting go is really tough
I did not cry – at least on the outside.
Our first child has officially left home to attend the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.
She and I took to the road first Friday morning for move-in day at Mississippi Hall, the Honors College dormitory at USM. Pam and Andy followed later. Both vehicles were filled with supplies, clothes and other what we considered dorm necessities.
The ride south on I-55 was a special one that I will always remember. It was some valuable time together for father and daughter, discussing a wide array of topics.
We did not relive the past much at all. We were more focused on the future.
I told her things like, “Be sure and find where your classes meet before the first day of classes.”
And the typical response to that and most other things was, “Daddy, I know that.”
I still have a hard time realizing she’s 18.
We arrived about 2:30 p.m., and it was much hotter in south Mississippi than it was in the northern corner of the state when we left.
Her dorm room is on the second floor.
We went to take a look at the space first, prior to unloading. It was small – smaller than expected – and we started contemplating the best way to arrange the two beds and the two desks.
Then it was back down the stairs and up and back and up – again and again.
I thought the second floor proved to be a difficult task, until I saw several parents taking items to the third floor.
At one point, when I saw a vacant spot, I moved Emma’s vehicle a bit closer to the front door of Mississippi Hall.
We rested a bit after that round of unloading – waiting on Pam and Andy and continuing to think about how to arrange things.
We moved the beds and the desks around a few times and then finally decided on the best set-up for the furniture. We walked to get Emma’s Post Office box and her books.
We waited on the second load of items – mostly clothes. Plus, there was a small piece of furniture with drawers aboard Pam’s vehicle which Emma and I had already decided would have to just make the return trip to Holly Springs – no space.
After getting everything we had up the stairs to the room, we made a list of things she needed.
She had a “get acquainted” pizza party to attend, so the rest of us went shopping and returned with more musts – like a printer for her computer and a small desk chair.
Emma was having a great time meeting new people, which was great, but we managed to get her back to the room long enough to check out the room’s progress. She was pleased.
It was about 8:30 p.m. by this point. We had to drive to Jackson for the night.
The difficult and dreaded part of the trip had arrived – time to say goodbye.
I gave her a huge hug – a long hug. I did not want to let go.
I went to start the vehicle while Pam and Emma shared a few special moments together.
Driving off, we waved bye.
A good friend told me – “It’s tough but you have to let go.”
For me, it got tougher Sunday night when I went downstairs at home and the door to Emma’s vacant room was open. I closed the door and it all suddenly sank in.
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