Mouths of babes: ‘Don’t cry Daddy, you’ll see me again’

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - CHURCH NEWS - Outta Left­field

It took only 2,343 miles in the car but I have suc­cess­fully de­liv­ered vounger Daugh­ter WR WKH finH IRONs DW Py DOPD mater, the Univer­sity of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, to start her col­lege ca­reer. (That, by the way, is a lot of “Iowa” in one sen­tence.)

Those of you with col­legeaged chil­dren are fa­mil­iar with this lit­tle phys­i­cal and emo­tional ex­er­ciseW Par­ents pack the car ZiWK HYHUyWKinJ WKDW ZiOO fiW — in our case it was two car­loads — DnG WUDn­sSRUW iW WR D FROOHJH dor­mi­tory. Some col­leges are big­ger, some are smaller. Some are close, some are far away. For the ge­o­graph­i­cally chal­lenged among us, Iowa is some­where out past West Jablip, Mid­dle of kowhere.

The im­por­tant de­tail for me is that it’s a long way from where I live.

But the ex­pe­ri­ence is sim­i­lar in that no mat­ter what size the col­lege or univer­sity, par­ents are leav­ing their child with a bunch of kids they don’t know to be on their own and start the next phase of life.

I say phooey to that. Why do ba­bies have to grow up any­way, and then go off to col­lege in mag­i­cal, far-away SODFHs fiOOHG ZiWK FRUn, FRZs and the world’s big­gest truck stop?

So along with 4,500 other fresh­man over a two-day pe­riod last week, we moved vounger Daugh­ter into Burge Hall on the cam­pus of the Univer­sity of Iowa. It is one block from where I lived 30 years ago, and if my old mem­ory serves me, I be­lieve dur­ing my time there we af­fec­tion­ately re­ferred to Burge Hall as “The Zoo.”

Swell. kow there is a com­fort­ing thought for a par­ent, huh?

I was also pleased to learn that young, col­lege-aged gentle­men are still com­plete im­be­ciles, be­cause fathers have al­ways been com­fort­able leav­ing their daugh­ters a thou­sand miles away in the com­pany of doo­fuses and clowns.

Case in pointW One evening af­ter mov­ing all of vounger Daugh­ter’s stuff into the dorms — DnG WKHn WDNinJ in­YHnWRUy DnG finGinJ RuW ZH sWiOO nHHGHG to go to Tar­get and pur­chase sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars’ more worth of “col­lege dorm room sWuII” — ZH ZHUH walk­ing through the lobby of Burge Hall on the way to the el­e­va­tors.

Con­sider the thought process on thisW Here was a fa­ther walk­ing with his daugh­ter through the dorms. Some jamoke with those high black socks and baggy gym shorts ap­proached me. Here is how this con­ver­sa­tion un­fold­edW

JamokeW “Sir, can I get on the el­e­va­tor with you and go up­stairs? My bud­dies live here and I don’t so I don’t have ac­cess to go up­stairs.”

MeW “What did the se­cu­rity folks at the front desk tell you?”

JamokeW “That since I didn’t live here, I’d have to wait for my bud­dies to come down­stairs, and that I should just wait in the lobby.”

MeW “Son, I think it’s a very good idea for you to wait in the lobby.”

What I con­sid­ered sug­gest­ing was that he wait in the lobby in one of the dorms at the Univer­sity of Alaska. Idiot. Af­ter ad­mit­ting to me that he GiGn’W bHORnJ uSsWDiUs in WKH fiUsW place, this jabroni saw me walk­ing with my daugh­ter and ac­tu­ally thought it was a solid plan to ask me to wel­come him onto the el­e­va­tor and es­cort him up­stairs? To where all the young women lived? hnuck­le­head. I should have just pinched off his head and handed it to him. And hey, pal, lose those stupid-look­ing black socks. vou’re never gonna get any girls with that ridicu­lous fash­ion state­ment. And while you’re at it, pull up those baggy pants and stay off my lawn.

De­spite that, the rest of the move-in was un­event­ful … un­til it was time for Old Dad to say good­bye to vounger Daugh­ter.

I could feel the tsunami of emo­tion build­ing in my chest at the ho­tel that morn­ing, and that feel­ing turned on the faucets be­fore I ever got to cam­pus. Once on cam­pus, I de­cided it might be a good idea to walk around a lit­tle to gather my­self.

Turns out that didn’t help at all. The more I walked around, the more I pon­dered that vounger Daugh­ter would be tak­ing the same paths where I had walked 30 years ear­lier. The ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ences that I got at the Univer­sity of Iowa were now hers for the tak­ing.

By the time I got to the dorms, there was a trail of tears and snot through most of the cam­pus. I didn’t re­al­ize that one nose could man­u­fac­ture that much un­men­tion­able stuff.

:KHn ZH finDOOy PHW in WKH lobby of Burge Hall, I was UHDGiOy iGHnWi­fiDbOH. , ZDs WKH one stand­ing in the pud­dle.

“Don’t cry Daddy, you’ll see me again,” she said as we em­braced.

It would not have been out of the ques­tion for some­body to call an am­bu­lance for me at that point.

So I got in my car and pointed it east to­ward Philly. I put in a Beach Boys CD, sup­ple­mented that later with a Dan May CD, and headed home. Those won­der­ful and tal­ented mu­si­cians kept me com­pany in that lonely car and helped ease the ex­cru­ci­at­ing heart­break that I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing on the long drive back to Philadel­phia.

Many of you have been through the same thing. And cer­tainly there are more heart­break­ing sit­u­a­tions in life than leav­ing one’s child at col­lege. But this sit­u­a­tion was mine, and it com­pletely owned me.

She says she’ll be back at Christ­mas. I think I’m go­ing to put up the tree this week­end and wait by the door.

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor of Mont­gomery News­pa­pers and au­thor of the book “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415, or by email at msquared35@ya­hoo. com. This col­umn can be found at www.mont­gomerynews.com.

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