Today was not as packed with things to do as Thursday and Friday…which was nice. There were several events, including a parent meeting and a brunch with the Franciscan friars. At the brunch, I got to meet some folks who are from Bothell. Mindy was glad to meet another native Washingtonian, especially one who lives so close. Turns out there are nine Washington residents at Franciscan.

I continue to be amazed at the warmth and generosity of this community. It’s a very inviting and welcoming place. If you were like me, your first day of school involved walking to your first class. That’s definitely not the case here. The kids already have an idea of what daily life is like on campus and have met friends. It’s a much better way to begin.

Mindy will get the opportunity to meet with the President of the University tonight at 7:15. All incoming freshman get the chance. After that, since it’s my final night here, we are going out to Dairy Queen for a dessert. It’s starting to finally sink in for me now, just like it did for Barb, Kelli, and Steve a few days ago. Being concerned for her safety is not the issue. I know she’s at the right place…no doubt in my mind. This is the beginning of a marvelous adventure and growth for her. She’s ready for it.

The real issue is I’m going to miss her. She has already left me a voice mail that I’m not supposed to listen to until she’s not around me. I haven’t found the courage to do that yet. I still see myself holding a newborn baby in my arms almost 19 years ago. Where has the time gone?

Many of you out there know what I feel. You have been there, too. In fact, I’m among good company as I see and hear similar thoughts from other parents. Distance doesn’t make a difference; whether it’s 100 or 2500 miles, the pain is still there. I feel fortunate that technology has brought us cellular phones (thanks to family calling plans), e-mail, and webcams. We still will communicate, maybe even better than before, and that will help. It doesn’t change that she won’t be there on Saturday mornings when I make pancakes, or when we are in church as a family, or every night when Barb and I would check to see if she was asleep.

I guess the moral of the story is this. Change happens. We all go through stages in our lives and Barb and I are embarking on a new one. Closing one chapter can sometimes be painful, but always seems to lead to new adventures. As out kids grow up and move on, it will really be like old times again and will give us the opportunity to focus on each other. What changes are you going through in your life? What might you be leaving behind? And, here’s the ultimately important question – what really cool things lay in store for you?

More tomorrow from the Buckeye State..

Dan

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