While looking through a bunch of old stuff my mother has stored at her house, I ran across an old yellow legal pad on which I had written what appeared to be a column for some publication some time ago. I don’t know if I ever published it but I thought it appropriate to include it now as so many folks are sending there little ones off to their first day of school. I wrote it at the time of my daughter’s high school graduation.
That phrase kept running through my mind: “I may never pass this way again.” I thought it didn’t apply directly to me because I was thinking of the 1987 high school graduates as they marched in stately rhythm down the aisle as part of their graduation ceremony.
Usually such a sight makes me think of my own graduation back in the dark ages but in this case having a daughter in the graduating group gave me a different perspective. So, in a way, that old phrase did apply to me. I will never pass that way again either.
I will never watch her toddle up the steps to kindergarten again, her first time away from the family, that first step toward becoming her own person.
I will never see her receive the first of many awards again, see the special sparkle and smile that said, “Look, Daddy, what I did!”
I will never look again for her name on the elementary honor roll listed in the local paper or worry about her grades.
I’ll never watch in wonder again as blue jeans give way to pants suits and “sports outfits” and, finally, evening gowns.
I’ll never share again those late night conversations about “Why do people say things to hurt other people?”
I’ll not call home again from half way across the country to hear, “Hi, Daddy! Guess what happened at school today?”
I’ll not watch again as she stands alone on a stage , her hair in pigtails and in the best little-girl voice sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or see her first “big girl” singing performance bring an applauding audience to its feet.
I’ll never have to answer again, as I did so many times, “Do you think he really likes me, Daddy?”
I’ll never hear again that scream of joy from reading a letter that states, “Congratulations. Your application for admission to the fall semester has been approved.”
There are many other sights and sounds I will not hear again: the laughter of “slumber parties”, the late-night sound of tires in the driveway, the bills for gowns and dresses and hair styling and makeup, the sight of steam coming from an hour-long shower and the inevitable array of panty hose on the shower rod.
I’ll never pass this way again…but I’ll remember and I’ll miss it.
And I do.