My wife and I just came back from dropping our eldest son, Timothy, off at college. Yup, some 6,570 plus days after he came into this world, we are in retrospect, letting him free. I have been trying to prepare myself for this inevitability for the better part of five months, right about when he submitted his letter of intent to W.P.I.
I think I did just fine, until we drove away after saying goodbye. My eyes welled up as we turned off of Institute drive. I took a deep breath and then 18 years of memories came flashing at me as if each event was happening again, right now. I know tonight is going to be a tough night, albeit a good tough, but tough nonetheless.
I can remember vividly him coming into this world. I was twenty years old. I was young, naive, scared. The hospital gave him this really cool hand knitted green hat. I remember him taking his first steps to me from our couch from our second floor apartment.We actually have a picture of that somewhere. I remember his first Christmas, just a month old, Dale bringing him down to me dressed in a surprise Santa outfit.
Fast forward a couple of years watching him fit in the bottom storage of our Entertainment system which remarkably we still have today, or carrying him on my shoulders all the way up Eagle Rock in West, Virginia. I remember the spur of the moment trip when I picked him up at Daycare when he was five and bringing him to his first Red Sox game, buying tickets at the gate.
We have had so many fantastic times: like dressing all in blue rooting for the Colts the year they made it to the Superbowl and I had them in the family football pool (Note: We are huge Patriots fans) Or his first time in Disney. I still marvel at older pictures like watching him brush his teeth with Nana. It's hard to fathom that he was once so small. I can't help but cling to the times of helping him learn how to ride a bike, play his first football game, beat me for the first time playing basketball.
I can't help but remember the day his younger brother was born, and the genuine love and kindness he showed to him. It was then that I realized that he was someone special, not because he is my son but because he is genuine. I have watched him grow from a little, innocent boy into a wonderful, caring, genuine young man. Mom and I are so very proud of you Timothy.
I'll treasure the days I came home to your amazing creativity and artistic talent after a long day of work. It's going to be a really hard day tomorrow when I won't be able to hear you yelling down to me, "Love ya Dad, have a good day." (Especially since I just broke down writing it.)
Although, I know you are starting a new chapter in life, one that focuses on you. That is the way it should be but if you don't mind, I am going to hang on to the last 18 years for the next few days.
Remember, just like I said to you tonight, "Have fun and Enjoy. Every. Minute."
Can't wait to see you in November... and I just left you 3 hours ago.