On my car ride in to work, I usually switch between a local Christian music station and a national sports talk show. Very random, but I think that sums me up pretty well.
Anyway, Mike and Mike radio host host Mike Golic was being asked about dropping off his youngest daughter to Notre Dame University. She was going there on a swimming scholarship and is joining her two brothers who already attend school there. All of a sudden, Mike and his wife were empty nesters. It made me think about my trip to college and made my cringe.
After checking out several colleges with my dad, I finally decided to go to the University of Missouri. I was excited for the chance to “be on my own.” We got there early that Wednesday morning and got my room assignment. We were working out the final details of switching rooms so I could room with a guy I had known for a few years. After that was all settled we brought all my clothes and stuff purchased for college into the room. A lot was going on. What was going on in my mind though was a million miles away of what was going off in my dad’s mind.
Now that I am a father of two, I sense he was thinking of the times I would run to him when I needed help. Maybe he was thinking of me playing baseball or basketball or studying for a test. (Okay, that last one is pushing it, I know.) He was going through emotional hell is what I am now thinking. His first born is heading off to college and is out of the house. Sure, I came back for breaks and random weekends; however, I was not to be there consistently ever again. And my response to all this: Call the pager company to find out why my pager was not working.
I was sitting at my desk doing all this as he was waiting to say goodbye. To my defense, okay I have no defense. I cringe to this day about that moment. Did I ruin it for him? What had he envisioned? I can only imagine his sadness as he left and what he felt.
I do not think my father and I or even my mother have talked about that moment until I am now writing this. I am not sure he even sees it the way I do. It amazes me though how everything changes once you have kids of your own. I see my two year old now and think of how much he has grown. I am scared to see what is going to happen five years from now, but I am in the same sense excited.
I have learned from my father to cherish every single moment. It means the world to me that I see that now. It makes me cringe that I recollect my first major college experience as that.
So dad, from the bottom of my heart I am sorry for that. I remember the times we raced in the yard. Or the practices you drove me to time and time again. Or the time you took me to West County Mall to drive on Thanksgiving and Christmas while I may have been under the legal age. Or the time you mourned with me at the loss of a friend. Thank you for all that you have done for me and your experience has prepared me for when my time comes when Cameron goes off to college.
I love you dad.