At Taylor University in Indiana with our daughter, Alyssa, right now.  She is interviewing for a scholarship tomorrow, staying in the dorm tonight.  We had dinner at the college tonight, then I left her to the first meeting for her scholarship and won’t see her again until tomorrow.  Felt real weird when it was time to say good bye tonight.. like my baby isn’t a baby any more.  Sigh.  The reality bite is kind of sobering.

That was my Facebook post a few minutes ago, unexpected tears filling my eyes as I wrote those last few words.  I really didn’t expect those tears, didn’t realize what I would be facing this weekend while taking my daughter to visit the college she will be attending this coming August.

I kind of feel old all of a sudden.  I miss her in some stupid way.  And I am so proud of her I can hardly describe it.

Taylor University is about a three and a half hour drive from our house.  Not too far away but far enough for her to be out of reach.  Being out of reach is not really an issue because Taylor is a Christian college with a unique community, a place where she can develop a faith that prepares her for eternity, perhaps more important than the education she will receive.  Our trip today was just me and her, another reason I looked forward to our trip, a dad and daughter day, maybe one of the last times I will get my little girl to myself.

I say “little girl” for a reason.  This is an orientation weekend, with around 700 parents and future students here, some visiting for the first time, some to find out more, some with students already accepted and here to interview for scholarships.  It started at six with a dinner, then parents and students went separate ways for various scheduled activities.  I looked at Alyssa, realized she was going off on her own, worried that she would be anxious about spending the night with people she had never met, in a college dorm.

“Dad, remember you left me at drum major camp by myself last summer and I didn’t know anyone then.  I was fine.  I am fine tonight.  Don’t worry.”

And she was right.  I was a bit embarrassed.  I am not the worrying type or at least not the type to show it.  She walked away, looked back at me to wave, and left with a student chaperone.  I was left with the other parents, all of us with various stages of concern on our faces.

I went to a small Q & A dessert at a professor’s home, listened to other parents ask questions, gave my story when my turn came during the introductions.

“My daughter has known she wanted to come to Taylor since she was a freshman in high school, known she wants to be a teacher since she was a little girl.  She took it easy on me when it came to visit colleges, had me visit two — first another college and then Taylor, and the other college visit was just to show me how good Taylor really is.”

It’s true.  During that introduction and time with the other parents was when I felt the weight of how real this is.  My girl is not my little girl any more.  She has been ready to grow up for a long time and maybe, just maybe, she is ready to do that now.

Dang it.  Dang it.  Just dang it.  Why does she have to grow up?  No.  I want it to happen and I don’t.  And I feel silly for feeling that way.  Real, real silly.

Today’s trip was so good.  So good.  She has so much of me in her, just enough of her mother, but so much of me that I feel alone thinking about not having her around full time any more.  I have until August.

I am going to be a basket case on August 22.