“don’t take these times for granted!”

As I rounded the corner on to Schooler Dr. I found myself following a big yellow school bus.  For a moment, I became impatient thinking “I wonder how many stops I’m going to have to wait behind”.  Then, the initial stop came and my heart changed.  As I looked ahead, I saw a Dad waiting for his child to come of the bus.  Then, his daughter appeared and they met each other with the biggest joyful smiles.  The bus driver then yelled out asking the little girl to come back.  It seemed that see had forgotten something on the bus.  As I chuckled a bit thinking”oh, that was my daughter”, it was then that it hit me!  Today, was this little girl’s last day of school and, today, was also my little girls last day of high school.

As I sat there behind the bus smiling, tears began to run down my face as it began to sink in that today what my baby girl’s last day of high school.  My, where did the time go!  It seems like only yesterday that that innocent little girl that I saw getting off the bus running into her father’s arms was my innocent little girl running into my arms.  “My baby is no longer a baby!”, I thought and “I’ll never share that father’s experience again!”  I became a bit sad in the moment quickly shifting my focus to the road ahead and the thought “well, there are grandchildren hopefully in our future!”  For a moment, I began to regain my composure.

Daddy “O” and Smiley Kylie, what a journey we’ve had to date.  Today’s photo is one of Kylie’s senior pictures and symbolizes our relationship.  One in which I’m holding her in my arms, we’re both filled with joy, and “kids” at heart.  Yes, one of my favorite memories will always be Kylie running and jumping into my arms upon first sight.  May this old man never get too old to catch this beautiful young lady down the road.  As I type this, I’m visualizing our Father/Daughter dance at her wedding as she runs to jump into my arms.  Honey, we might want to practice that one prior to your first attempt in your wedding dress!

Wow, where did the time go!  Oh, they weren’t all joyful times along the way.  We have some stories about the tough times as well.  One of these days Kylie will share more about her battles along the way.  One’s that were very serious, very dark and very challenging for her and our family.  God and Kylie taught me a lot during this period of our life for which I’ll be eternally grateful.  It’s through the challenges that our love for one another deepen greatly.  Again, stories for another day!

For now, my daughter has her “mojo” back and we are so proud of her.  Smiley Kylie has always been a light to our family.  Like her mother, Kylie has such a joyful, compassionate spirit about her and is filled with unconditional love.  To that end, unconditional love is one of the attributes she’s taught me the most.  Like her father, Kylie doesn’t claim to have a lot of friends; however, to the ones she calls friends, she is committed and loyal beyond circumstances.  As she venture off to college, may others be blessed by this type of friendship.

Next year is IUPUI for Smiley Kylie!  Mom and Dad are glad to see our girl spread her wings and fly outside the nest, yet not to far from it.  She’s likely going exploratory while keeping an eye on elementary education.  I know she wrestles daily with what she’s going to do when see grows up for which I continue to remind her at 48 years old I still have similar thoughts.  While we never know with certainty, I can assure you one thing Kylie will be is a wonderful bride and mother to her life partner and children to be.

To that father I saw yesterday meeting his daughter coming off the bus I say, “don’t take these times for granted!”  People always say looking back that it goes fast.  I now speak from firsthand experience telling you it seems like only yesterday my baby girl was getting off that bus.  You’ll never regret choosing to spend time with her over your career, money, or anything else this world has to offer.  For a period, I drifted down the wrong path and am so glad the past 8 years have been different for me.

To my Smiley Kylie I say, “well done”.  Mom and I are so proud of the young women you’ve become.  While we talk about your “leaving the nest” as a necessary part of life, you also know how much your mom and I going to miss having you around.  God has much in store for you in this life ahead.  We can’t wait to watch and share in this journey.  May I never become too old to hold you in my arms!

Love you KyKy! (with tears!)

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