Today was a long day. I set my alarm for 0700 so we could leave by 0730, which is the time Cassidy thought would be best to get us to Cal Poly SLO in time, considering move-in traffic, for her 0830 time slot. She is the orchestrator. We follow her lead. She got herself here, afterall.
Robbie dropped us and her stuff off and then had to go park the car in BFE. She was the first of three roommates to move in, so she got to choose her bed. Lucky girl. She picked the single. She was on a cross-country road trip delivering Alexa to TN and managed to log-in at just the right time to get the first slot. Shoulda bought a lottery ticket. Oops, she wasn’t 18 then. She is now…adult. Ish.
She put all her clothes away while I made her bed. Making her bed was important to me. I make a good bed. Nurse corners. A good bed with good pillows makes all the difference. Then I will know she is all tucked in. Angels on your pillow. And I hung her posters and her lights and the Tibetan prayer flags that Robbie got her from that cool import store on Broadway. They mean Success.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a good Dad. You just have to be lovingly present. And sometimes you just have to be quietly there. Standing by. There is nothing that man wouldn’t do for our children.
So we got her all moved-in and then had lunch at Firestone, where the tri-tip is good good and the salads are huge. Get a small Firestone salad with tri-tip and you will be happy happy. Then we drove to like 5 different stores looking for a damn shower caddy that wasn’t too big for the locker in the co-ed showers. (Don’t worry, the stalls have locking doors that are from floor to ceiling.) They were either too big or sold out. I remembered the bookstore had some household stuff, so last resort checked when we got back to campus and bingo, they had two of them, in the way back of the store where no one goes. Score! Momming so good! Do you know how many times she told me she didn’t need exactly what we were searching for anytime we had been shopping for dorm stuff over the last couple months? She literally had them in her hand on two separate occasions and put them back on the shelf. But I was following her lead. It wasn’t the end of the world and listening to her laughter all day, perhaps at my expense, was worth it. Robbie is Mr. Funny Guy and those two think I’m a shitty driver. Ha, ha, ha. We all survived. Laughing all the way. It was fun and it was time well spent and maybe it was a reminder that it’s always about the journey and not the destination. Laughing all the way to the beach.
She seemed so happy today. The sound of her laughter is everything. And she was nice to us and tolerated us. And she allowed me to make her bed and hang her posters and her lights and the Tibetan prayer flags and I am so very grateful to be here. In this moment, under these circumstances, with these people.
While Cassidy waited in line to check-in for WOW, Cal Poly SLO’s Week of Wonder for freshman, Robbie and I went to a parent reception. We met this cool family that brought their son all the way from Chicago on a full ride academic scholarship. We accidentally crashed their table, but they were welcoming and friendly and we shared some stories and some laughs. I only got their first names, I hope Cassidy finds Dwight Jr. and that they become friends. He’s an introvert, too.
Then we walked her back to her room and said see you tomorrow. Not yet goodbye.
I made Robbie take me to Shell Beach, down the long and winding stairs, where we took the kids when they were small. At low tide, there is a cave and you can dig for clams and collect Sandollars. Only take the white or gray ones. Leave the purple ones. They are still living their best life. And like a purple sandollar, I know she is going to be fine if I leave her. She is my girl! She is strong like Mulan! She’s Purplicious!
We are leaving her to live her best life.
Go, Cass, go!
But you must always come home.