This weekend was a little emotional for me because on Thursday Syd boarded a plane with eleven other kids from school and with two chaperones flew to California for a college tour. Last January I put up the story about “Hindsight is 2020” and now she is in Cali looking at colleges and universities. Yeah, a year later……Wow. The colleges they will visit are Pomona, Scripps, Claremont-McKenna, CalTech, Whittier and Occidental. They are also checking out the University of Southern California, University of California at Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University and they are going to do some sightseeing as well. They are doing all of these activities in four and half days.
On the way to school Thursday morning I remembered that just a few months ago we were walking the Howard University campus. I won’t lie to you. I was teary eyed when I dropped her off. I got out of the truck and hugged her extra tight knowing I wouldn’t see her until Monday night, knowing that she was quite literally flying the coop and would be 2,200 miles away, knowing that she was going to see these schools without me, knowing that…..that my baby is almost grown.
It’s not that I don’t want her to grow up and do her own thing. If you know me then you know I am her champion for growth. It’s just hard to fathom the diaper poopin, spaghetti O’s spillin, chocolate on the face baby is now a teenager who will have her drivers license in two months, is working a summer job AND will be going to college in two years. AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE BOYS!!!! SMH. Where did the time go? No really….where did it go? I mean seriously, it’s been 16 years and it feels like yesterday we were at Disneyworld eating French fries but in reality that was 8 years ago. Do you feel where I am right now?
Prior to Syd leaving Andrea and I were talking about her sweet 16 party. I have this grandiose plan for her party. We are going to do this certain restaurant with my favorite DJ and there will be a hundred friends and family. It’s going to be spectacular. Andrea is telling me in the gentlest way possible that she doesn’t think Syd wants that type of party. I, being the ALL KNOWING DADDY, respond, “Of course she does. She loves stuff like this.” Andrea tries to explain what she knows Syd would want. I don’t want to hear it. She says, “Is this party for you or for Syd.” OOOHHHH did that sting.
Not three hours later Syd is texting me. “Dad, can we do something different?” and the next thing I know my dream party for Syd is no more. Syd is not afraid to voice her opinion (I don’t know where she got that from) and will let you know in a heartbeat if she doesn’t like something or it’s not kosher. Andrea was 100% correct in knowing what Syd wanted AND who the party was really for. See I wanted to celebrate her 16th the way I DJ’d all of those sweet 16 parties over the last 25 years…..HUGE!!!! But that is not how Syd wants it and it is her party so I have to respect that.
Now it’s Friday night and I am at home alone wondering how and whoat she is doing in Cali. It’s hard to go from doing everything for your child to barely doing anything at all. The things we used to do we don’t do anymore because she is growing up. I used to do her hair, gone. Tuck her in at night, gone. Watch Spongebutt, gone. I miss those things BUT let me tell you there is something new that we do now. We talk and I do mean talk. We have very grown up conversations about all types of topics such as peer pressure, dating (she still won’t tell me who she likes. I know, Baby steps), music, drugs, alcohol, cars, LGBT stuff and sex. Our conversations sound like two grown people talking and she is very smart on a variety of topics (wonder where she got that from).
Now she is in Cali looking at schools. My mom and my brother both asked me why I didn’t want her to go to school here. The answer is simple. I want Syd to go to whatever school she wants to go to BUT I want her to explore outside of Georgia. When I was ready to graduate high school there weren’t any counselors to direct me on the next steps. I had to figure it out on my own. I want my daughter to be better than me. I want her to see things that I have not seen, do things that I have not done. She can’t do that if I stunt her growth, if I try to keep her within arms length. She has to see the world. She has to know there is more to her life than Georgia.
As I told Andrea that last piece of the story she said, “You prepared her to do things the way SHE wants to do them. Now she wants to do her party her way and you want to do it your way. You can’t have it both ways.” She’s right.
Syd, I love you baby. Grow and do your thing, whatever that thing is. We will build new memories!!!!