My daughter, Adeline, graduated in May. Today, she flies to Nicaragua to do field research with a graduate student for a couple of weeks. When she returns in August, she’s decided to move to Philadelphia. Like she texted to me recently, it kind of feels like the beginning of the end. Of college. Of summer. Of her life at home with us. I know what she means. I’m excited for her but quite nervous as well. It’s that whole “your children are your heart traveling outside your chest” thing.
Last night I returned for a few hours from up the coast where I’m having a week long reunion with college friends. I wanted to help Addie pack and get organized. I wanted to hug her close and say in person, “I love you. Have fun and make good choices.
After I got back, we went out to the store to pick up some last minute items for her journey. As we walked out, bags in hand, it was raining. Addie took off, racing toward the car. She ran across the parking lot through the drizzle, and as I watched her, a lifetime of moments coalesced into that one single moment. I saw her taking her first steps. I saw her little feet in shoes on the wrong feet (her unintentional and for a time concerning default choice). I saw her running as a young child and more often than not falling, picking herself up and running onward, eager to be a part of whatever was going on. I saw her running on the soccer field with her distinctive bent-way-forward stance. And now on this rainy July evening, she was running toward the car, ready to get home and finish packing. Ready to head out on a new adventure and into a new stage of her life.
I stood outside Target, the light rain falling on me, chilly on my skin, polka dotting my shirt,and I simply watched her run.