Last week I drove my oldest to college and dropped her off to start her journey into independence. I have grieved this day for months now and the waves of profound heartache and excitement swirl within me, like freezing rain in a summer storm. I can’t resolve my happiness and sadness they just exist as side by side contradictions. I can’t stop the train passing through the threshold of time but it seems the rail runs straightway through my heart. My fellow travelers have the same sense of ache that only those in the moment can understand. You see it in their eyes and we communicate with wordless glances and shrouds of gloom behind ambivalent smiles. I can’t help but feel that family will never be the same, which doesn’t mean worse and could mean better; but there is an unknown and uncertainty and a sense of finality to a long joyful season. Like the millions who have walked this road before me, I deeply love my kid, her laugh, her joy, her smell, her disarming kindness and positive persistence, her crinkled nose smile and lisping sarcasm. I’m exceedingly confident she is ready, knowing she’ll be a great adult and will bless many. I’m absolutely elated about the fun, friends, life lessons and learning she is going to experience. I’m perfectly at peace in her choices and preparation for this next chapter; but I am mourning the loss of what was because it was so incredibly good. The things in life you say to yourself, “there’s plenty of time”, go by incredibly fast. The things in life you are in a hurry to make arrive always take time. The irony of the duality of joy and sadness, fast and slow, close and far are only joined together in my heart. I am joyfully sad at the suddenness of this long journey’s end and no matter how far she is from me she will never be closer.