Turning My Daughter Loose on the World (Good Luck, World!)

Today was a special day wasn’t it?     You start college next week at Wright State and we moved you into the dorm.   I was already proud of you, but now I’m proud of your mom as well.   She only squirted a few tears over the whole thing and they were so quick and quiet I never even noticed.

It’s hard to let my little girl go, but it would have been harder if you had stayed.   You wanted to work a summer job and couldn’t find one.  You were miserable and spread the misery around the house like a bad smell.   Most mornings you wouldn’t poke your head out of your bedroom until noon.  There was no place you had to be so why not lie in bed watching Law and Order: SVU reruns and bad morning television?

That’s all over now.  Your days will be spent in a classroom listening intently to lectures, being baffled by math and bored by history,  furiously scribbling notes, tapping on your laptop and spending all my mother@*%$# MONEY!   Good thing I never planned on retiring anyway.    I’m sure it’s going to be great working nights into my seventies.

It’s going to be hard walking around the house missing the sight of you and your new umblical cord–sorry–your phone glued to your hand from dawn to dark and the joyous sound of you yelling at maximum volume at your brother for eating all the Nutri-Grain bars.  I won’t miss the television blaring with an endless symphony of bleepity-bleep-bleeps whenever you watched Love and Hip-Hop.   Now you can entertain your roommate with your moods, your temper tantrums and lousy viewing taste (the poor thing).

It’s going to be quite an adjustment from having your own bedroom and living with three other people to splitting a dorm room in half and sharing a bathroom with your roomie and the two girls in the next room.   I hope nobody is too much of  a slob.   I lived with a bunch of guys when I was in the military and that was an adjustment, but then I slept in the same room with my two brothers.  It’s always just been you and when you were in a bad mood you could retreat to the closed door of your bedroom and your own evil thoughts.

Now you’re going to have to take a walk instead.   Either you’ll learn not to get pissed off so easily or you’ll find all-news ways to blow off steam.    Your roommate is not going to take your attitude with the shrug of the shoulders we learned to respond to it with.

But seriously, this marks you taking one giant step closer to achieving your dreams and I could not be happier for you.   We aren’t losing a daughter.  Wright State is gaining a Drama Queen.

This is the hardest part about being a parent.  We watched over you like a protective mama and papa bird for 18 years knowing eventually you would have to try your wings out and see how high and far they carry you.  No matter how much we want to protect you we know we have to let you go.  We only hope you don’t crash to earth.

Everything we put in your head about life and what you should demand from it and from yourself is about to be put to the test.   Whatever decisions you make about what course your life takes; whether or not you start drinking or experimenting with drugs or having sex or who you allow to be your friend is all on you and how you decide and the choices you make will define you from here on out.   We’ve taught you most of the things you need to make yourself a happy, smart and motivated young woman.   You’ll have to fill in the rest of the blanks yourself.

I hope you study hard, get good grades, achieve your goals and graduate on time so you can get a job and start paying back that money you owe us from that certain unmentionable incident if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Just kidding.  You don’t have to pay us back.   Not until you make some money and start paying taxes.   Then I’m coming for your income tax refund so don’t make any plans for it.

We’re going to miss you,  Imani.   The silence of your absence is a poor replacement for the noise you fill our lives with.  The distance between our home and your college is not that far, but far enough that it feels like you’re on the other side of the moon.  Your mom is keeping a stiff upper lip.  Your brother won’t say it (mostly because he didn’t say much when you were here), but he’s going to miss you.  Especially since it means until we get the kitchen remodeled and buy that dishwasher, that’s what his main job is.

Home is the place where when you show up at the door, they have to let you in.   I am looking forward to your bringing the noise when you come home for a visit.

That’s going to take some getting used to.  Home is now where you lived instead of where you live.   I suppose every mama and papa bird feel that way when the nest gets a bit emptier.

I love you, baby.   Part of me is happy for you and another part is sad for me because while you’ll always be my little girl, the reality is you passed “little” a long while ago and you’re a lot closer to being your own woman than you are my little girl.

My love is your love always,

Dad

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4 thoughts on “Turning My Daughter Loose on the World (Good Luck, World!)

  1. Congratulations, Papa Winbush. Hugs from a parent in California who will send her son out into the world in a couple of years. This is Imani’s time to shine. If she’s anything like her father, she’ll set the world on fire with her brilliance and bravery.

  2. What a wonderful send off! Congratulations on growing on up and sending her off, I fully expect if she is anything like her father to see the campus set on fire shortly with a mind like a trap and a complete demand for justice.

    Loved this line, “We aren’t losing a daughter. Wright State is gaining a Drama Queen.” It is close to how I felt when I sent my own off to university.

  3. This was a very fun posting to read; thanks for sharing the experience. I’ve no kids of my own but married into a couple grown ones who are seeing their own kids off to college and beyond. Those kids call me Grandma, and I’m sure rooting for them … and kinda glad I never had to live with the moody parts! Congratulations, Jeff.

  4. Imani will be just fine. Not so sure about you and Vanessa. Your feelings were well expressed and I know you are looking forward to her return around Labor day. How much will she have grown by then…

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