I spent the last hour sitting in the 94th Aero Squadron parking lot watching planes take off from MIA. When I watched that big ol’ jet airliner get airborne, headed west across the country to California, I cried.
I’ve been a father a long time now and I just kicked the youngest chick out of the nest on her trial flight. This is the first time we’ve been apart this long, and the first time she’s been so very far away on her own. She’s taking on a brand new city and meeting a brand new group of people. All on her own.
Mel will spend the next month at the EPGY Stanford summer institute studying physics. Special and General Relativity are going to be just so much small potatoes compared to the independence, self-awareness and confidence she will discover over the next month. Or, maybe she’ll just discover a taste for beer…
As we stood inside D terminal saying our goodbyes, I was eyeing the blue-gloved TSA army. Here’s my precious kid walking out into a world of “naked body scanners” and “full body pat-downs” and I’m going to be 2500 miles away, unable to run interference.
It felt just like the first time you ride a bike and let go of the handlebars… a mixture of terror and exhilaration.
That’s when the first tears came. I told her they were tears of joy for all her accomplishments, and maybe one or two tears were because I’d miss her. Then little miss insight said “you know, we’re both exercising our wings here.” She gave me a hug and got in line for the metal detectors.
I watched her breeze through security and right out of sight. She never looked back. An hour later, I watched that 757 take off… I watched until it was a tiny dot on the horizon.
Happy Father’s Day to all you dads. Keep the faith, ’cause sometimes that’s all you can do, and all you should do.