Monday, August 16, 2021

Caterpillar in the tree...

And she's off. Ten hours away. Officially a Tar Heel. The hole in our home and our lives is palpable. And measurable. "How many plates?" The boy asked tonight, after we coaxed him to set the table. "Just five," I said. He left her spot empty, like a missing man formation. 

We know she's just embarked on a great adventure: College. What an amazing rite of passage we have. We’re excited for her. Truly. But it is hard for us. For 18 years we woke her and fed her and loved her as best we could. Which wasn’t always enough. Now, we’ve set her free. 

Some worry whether their kid is ready for the world; I worry the world isn’t ready for ours. She is an unstoppable force. Of all the highfalutin jobs my wife and I have had over our years, raising her and her siblings was by far the most important, and challenging, and rewarding, and draining, and... well, you understand.

They warn you it goes by fast. It does. Eighteen years in a flash. Now she’s ready to make her mark. And we’ll all be better for it.

For the most part, I held it together when we dropped her off. Just a few slight tears. A bit of a lump in the throat. But nothing embarrassing. Then we drove home, to the play list she’d put together for the trip down. (It’s like Gen Z’s version of the mixed tape). 

Quite a few “Carolina” themed tunes, of which there are many. But then one played I knew was meant for me. 

“Flap your wings now you can't stay. Take those dreams and make them all come true. Butterfly, fly away.”

Man, that kid.