Monday, September 28, 2009

How to Ride a Roller Coaster

The experience of dropping Becca off at college taught me a lesson. In the days leading up to her imminent departure, people would ask how I'm feeling about it as a dad. I came to realize that I was both excited (for her) and dreading it (for me) at the same time. I saw more clearly in myself a tendency to dread such a big change, since I knew the ripping feeling in the chest (as I described here) was coming up soon. Honestly, I even got the shot of adrenaline in the pit of the stomach sometimes when I thought of her leaving.

I came to describe these two feelings as the difference between the two ways you can ride a roller coaster. You can strap yourself in with a sense of dread, and then hold on tight with your eyes closed till its over. Or you can trust your safety harness, throw your hands up in the air and scream your head off! But either way you choose to ride, your destination is the same, right?

So I think I can actually say that I did better this time with a change that life threw at us. I really did enjoy the process of sending my daughter off to college. And I stopped dreading it so much. To mix my metaphors, I feel a little like the dad-fish in Pixar's Finding Nemo, who would worry too much about his little fish-son swimming too far away from the safety of the reef. Not that I'm happy to see her go; no, just the opposite. *sniff* But I am doing better at enjoying the ride. Like 'Dori' I guess.

So, I'm going to keep trying....look ma, no hands!

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