A few years ago I sat at lunch with my daughter trying to convince her I should be permitted to visit her at college as often as I wished. Still in high school at the time, I suppose she thought we were spending plenty of time together because she was adamant that I visit only when my company was requested. From the sound of it, it seemed such invitations would arrive few and far between.
From the time she turned sixteen and had the freedom to depart without me having to facilitate her comings and goings, I have been adjusting to seeing less and less of my daughter in each day. I had long ago grieved the loss of lip kisses and holding hands as we walked the sidewalks, but I was still clinging to the hope she wanted to see me often, to tell me about her day and ask for my sage advice.
That hope slowly faded and was replaced by the recognition that the sound of jingling keys meant I would be lucky to catch a glimpse of my kid every now and then. When the day came for her to leave home and set up residence in a freshman dorm, I remembered that lunch when we had disagreed about my visitation schedule.
After her bags were unpacked and her room organized, I drove away thinking I may not see my daughter again for several months, if then. I braced myself for what I expected to be a long and heartbreaking wait.
Two weeks later, my daughter and I had lunch once more in the very restaurant we visited when we toured the college campus a few years before. My invitation had arrived by text message but I didn’t care about its informality. My daughter was asking for my company, and much sooner than either of us had anticipated.
I suppose it’s true what they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same – a daughter will always need her dad.