My daughter left for her freshman year of college today.
We drove her to campus, helped set up her stuff, grabbed lunch. Then pretty much left.
And I was fine.
Really, I was fine.
But now, sitting here at 9:10 on a Saturday night, I’m broken.
Casey is our first born, so I’ve never experienced this before. But I feel drained and beaten and battered. I feel as if a phase of my life has come to an end, only I’m not ready. I want to wake up tomorrow and have Casey walk down the steps, plop in her chair and scan Instagram. I want her to tell me about her plans, then get annoyed when I ask again an hour later.
I was never one of those dads who needed a son. I had my daughter, and I was all in from Day 1. Casey painted my nails, and I painted hers. Casey pretended to be my elementary school teacher. Casey let me take her on her first roller coaster, then her second and third. I still remember Casey, as an infant, noticing the breeze against her cheeks, and lifting her chin toward the sky trying to catch it. School plays, school concerts, field trips, lemonade stands, trick o’ treating, fun days in New York City.
On and on.
It’s all flashing before me now, in this endless nostalgic loop. I thought I was prepared for this, but I was not. I miss my daughter, and hate—hate, hate, hate—that the years have flown by and left me here, feeling this way.
I know time heals all.
But today, right now, I am crushed.