As I write this, I’m seated at a corner table in a little coffee house. Our city is home to a number of colleges and universities. This coffeehouse sits squarely between two of the largest universities in our city. It’s a mid-August morning and the place is filled with parents and college freshman, here for drop off weekend. Families have traveled from all across the country, vehicles packed to capacity carrying clothes, comforters, microwaves, lamps and other various items designed to fill their young student’s dorm.
I have a moment of remembering back to my own move-in-to-the-dorm weekend, but my mind is soon hijacked with thoughts of dropping off my own first born in a few short years. Her own college experience is fast approaching, and the idea of her leaving home is something I find myself considering on a regular basis.
My eyes lock on a father seated across the table from his daughter. He’s leaning into a conversation between she and her mom seated next to him. He is fixed on this young woman as she responds to her mother, her face and gestures brimming with life and animation. His eyes are full of all the emotions that surround loving and protecting a little girl for 18 years, and then being asked to send her out into the world.
I find myself wanting to approach his table, put my hand on his back and say something like “I feel your pain, brother.” I want to somehow communicate to this dad that I know what it feels like to love another person so much you think your heart will break wide open. I’d remind him there’s nothing “natural” about devoting yourself to someone, only to release her to a big, harsh world. I want to slip him my phone number (as a fellow dad) in case her car breaks down on Hillsboro Pike, he’s hundreds of miles away and she’s scared. The note would read, “I’ll pick her up and my wife will make her dinner until we figure out how to get her car towed and repaired.” All those things we uniquely worry about as fathers.
I want to remind him that sometimes all we can do as parents is close our eyes, breathe and believe that God will protect what He has entrusted to us.
Is there a place in your own parenting journey where you are struggling in some way to let go? Where do you need to trust more that He will protect what He has entrusted to you?