I’m proud.  If that is a surprise to any one, then you are new to reading my blog.  My daughter is the jewel in my crown, the apple of my eye, her blessings in my life the reason why God has stayed real to me.  Four years ago, there was never a worry about whether she would succeed in her college career, never a question.  Only once in her four years at Taylor would I even sneak a peek at her grades.  I didn’t need to.  She is a strong, intelligent, motivated, independent, confident young woman.

See the gold tassel?  Cum laude.  Not bad.

22 years.  Each of those years, a little bit of the girl has been replaced by a bit of woman.  When she reached high school age, I started seeing the woman in her.  I realized that she would always be my girl, smiled at the thought, happy that she indeed was becoming a woman.  I watched her take her first steps as a toddler, stood back and let those steps take her in many different directions.  Along the way, I have met her and helped in those few times when she needed me to, more often than not waiting for my independent girl to ask because I know that she wants to try to do it herself.  Her mother has always been a close friend, her confidant at times, and I have been the father who has watched and waited, there for her when she needs my strength.  I like that.  She reaches for me, she always does.

I am her father, the man who was the first man in her life.  I need my daughter, the one who always makes me feel that way.

Like I said, every year it seems like a little bit of the girl has been replaced by a bit more of woman.  I saw that the last two days, as we packed up her college possessions into her car and mine, had dinner together, shared stories.  Soon, she will get on a plane and fly the Turkey, far away, start the next stage of her life.  She has done well.  Like I felt when she entered college, there is no question that she will succeed.

Congratulations to my daughter, Alyssa, college graduate!