One of the reasons that I love my daughter is that she likes to make sure that I get my time with her. She wants my undivided attention, just her dad and no one else. Alyssa will get up early on a Sunday morning because she knows that I get out of bed, celebrate a few hours by myself before the rest of the house gets up, and she knows that she can get me to herself on a Sunday morning. Almost every Sunday morning last year we went for a bagel at Panera before church, just Alyssa and I, until she went off to college at the end of August. A lot of times we will go off together for a meal, Panera for a bagel on Sunday morning, or Naf Naf for a lunch shawarma. We did both the past few weeks while Alyssa was on her college Christmas holiday break.
When Alyssa asked me to take her back to college after the holiday break, I had to hide my smile. Somehow she had convinced her mother that she didn’t need to go along with us. It would be a long trip, more than four hours by car each way and likely bad weather. Mir’s anxiety on that trip would be too much. Dad can handle this one by himself. So Mir agreed that I could take Alyssa back to college without her. Alyssa had a huge smirk on her face as Mir announced that to me.
Alyssa had her things packed and ready on Saturday night, bags waiting at our front door to go into my little VW the next morning. It snowed overnight, so I got up at dawn to clear the driveway and pack the car while Alyssa showered. We drove to Panera together, had our bagel and met Mir at church. Heavy snowflakes were falling as Alyssa hugged her mom and we left the parking lot.
We talked the entire trip. Alyssa has a lot of questions, feels comfortable talking to me about them. We talked about spiritual issues, learned a little more about each other, found a little more to bond. We think alike or at least very similar, something we already knew, but talking about what we believe about God and his ways brought us even closer. She shared that it was good to be able to talk to me about issues she can’t bring up with her very conservative mother.
At one point, Mir called. She wanted me to stay on the phone and give her specific turn by turn driving directions. The timing was very bad. The storm had become worse, gusting sidewinds making the snow covered icy highway hard to negotiate. It was frustrating to drive while talking on the phone, especially since Alyssa and I both knew that Mir and Nate each had their smartphones with them and were refusing to use them for directions.
It was a good time with my little girl. The weather was a bit intense for a while, but there were no worries. The trust is there. My girl trusts her dad.
When we arrived, I took Alyssa to dinner at a very eclectic, hipster type of restaurant that she wanted to show to me. We had potato and onion soup with a smoked bacon sandwich melt on homemade bread, the soup made with herbs from the restaurant garden. Good stuff.
Oh, and while I was helping her carry her things from the car to her dorm, I may have slipped a little gift in her bag — my prized rubber chicken. She discovered it while I was driving back and texted me a picture. Did you put this in my bag? Hmmmmmm.