Like most families at this time of the year, my family and I drove my daughter up to college with a packed car and roof rack. We were lucky to get away with not having to rent a U-Haul.
Once we got up to Syracuse, we dropped off her stuff in her apartment, set it up and then went on our way for a mini vacation to Canada.
We arrived in Ottawa late in the day but noticed that there were nice running trails along the river. I asked my daughter if she would jog with me.
"I haven't been running at all lately," she said, "I think the last time I ran was a few weeks ago."
"That doesn't matter," I said. "I don't even know if I can go a mile at this point. I haven't been running myself and I haven't really been motivated."
The next morning, I woke up at 9 a.m. and gently went over to her bed and asked her if she would go with me. She nodded. Moments later, she was out of bed all dressed in her running clothes and ready to go.
When the two of us walked outside the Fairmont Hotel in Ottawa, we thought it would be freezing. Instead it was a beautiful day. The sun was shinning. There were few clouds in the sky and the weather was in the 70's and breezy.
We walked down a bunch of stairs, went on the trail along the river, stretched a little, and then off we went.
At first we were together and kept the same pace. Then I started to drop off and walked a bit. She kept running and got so far away from me that I started to yell out, "Hey, wait…" but I didn't.
I almost felt as if it were ironic. Here we were driving her to college and she would be continuing with her life to expand as a person, and here I was in the background. It made me think that although she still needs me, she needs me in a different way. Her distance made me think that my little bird had flown.