Over the past few days I have begun one of the hardest moments of my life. Now I realize that many people have already experienced this, and may not necessarily think this is that difficult a hurdle.
Well... Deal with it, because it is for me. I am going to miss grabbing four plates for dinner. I'm going to miss seeing that beautiful face sitting next to me at the table and hearing all the drama and happiness she experienced throughout her day. I'm going to miss looking over her head while we watch movies.
You see, I made it point to be as involved in my kid's lives as I could. Perhaps that's why this is so difficult. Since Rachel and Zack were born, my life has been filled with those two. Our homes in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas. Our trips to Alaska, Wyoming, California, Colorado, and of course, to Disney. These two have been our little traveling troopers - with nothing but eagerness and excitement to join in.
But now the time has come where our troop will be down by one. It's that damn empty seat again.
And I realize that this is selfish and childish of me, but the closer I get to leaving our baby girl, the more I feel the weight of the emptiness of her chair at our dinner table and the emptiness of her seat in our car.
While parents are raising their children, we all have this understanding that one day these wonderful people will leave our homes to break off on their own. But that understanding is buried under years of, "Daddy, can you help?" or, "Daddy, come see!" or time after time of your child just being... a child. The thought is like a spot on your carpet you choose to ignore. You know it's there, you see it every day, but at the time it seems better to simply wave your hand and deal with it when you have more time.
That's the problem, though. For me that time passed far, far too quickly.
It came before I was ready. It came before I had the courage to deal with it. And it came before I had the strength say goodbye.
We love you and will miss you deeply, Rachel. Have fun, work hard, and we can't wait to see what you accomplish over the next four years...