The back of the car is barren where boxes and bags crowded for space. Packed in a bedroom it is unpacked in dorm room. Sandwiches shared on the campus lawn, last minute necessities purchased, and the Blessing shared with an auditorium buzzing with the conflict of youthful eagerness and parental restraint. Tears spill with last hugs. We say goodbye.

How do we send off someone who has been so much a part of our lives? How do we let go of someone who has defined us?

Our daughter is electric with excitement, nerves twitching, knowing she must be patient for the new world to arrive. With one last hug we commit her to the care of the school, and walk away, for that is what comes next for us.

Today we all start a new chapter in our lives. Our eager daughter rushes headlong into the challenges of living more on her own. We return to the life we live in. And we embrace the empty place in our daily lives that she filled. We knew this day was coming. We have been planning for it.

Today, we return to being a couple, finding joy in our journey together that is both familiar and novel. While our daughter’s presence will be missed, I look forward to getting to know my best friend even better. It is back to the two of us, ending up where we started. A place where love was conceived and nourished. We now stand together, hand in hand and watch with wonder as it blossoms.