We as parents/coaches do our best to prepare out kids for all the steps of life, it actually seems kind of easy. Well up until you start to see one of the finish lines, But even then you still think you have time. I never really counted the months or days, I actually counted the softball seasons. So when it came down to Fall 2018 and I started to look back and think, damn this is her last travel ball game (until she jumps on a 23u team if she has time). So I think to myself I have winter workouts and high school ball left so I should be ok. Well that went by and graduation came and gone so I ended up staring at 6/14/2019.
Knowing I had a couple weeks left I tried my best not to overwhelm her with “hang out with me all the time”. I understand she is a young lady and 18 and she has other things goin on in her life as well, so that was hard for me. What was really hard for me was when the noise was gone. When everyone was asleep and I would take a moment to just take the time in. Very hard to explain but its like I could relive every memory I have with her and I can slow it down and freeze frame it just to take it all in. That was the most emotional part for me. When I cried (yes I cried) I had to let out what ive been holding in. I never wanted her to see me upset because it would take away from it all. How proud I am of her, she set goals at a young age and she has reached everyone so far! The excitement for her was overwhelming and the emotion took over every time I thought about it. I didn’t cry because I was sad it was because I was proud. Everything was taking me to tears in the final weeks it was crazy. Every daddy daughter moment there was on t.v or music it just took me back.
Now when I realized that was it, the moment for me was the 13th of June we had everyone come to the house and say their goodbyes and see you later, and after everyone was gone my parents were still there. My mother made a HUGE impact on her life and when they hugged it all cam pouring down for her. The tears didn’t stop, and of course my mother was crying with her so it was a very emotional moment for us all. I managed to hold my tears but I could sit back and just admire all the love she received, all the people that supported her and all of us as a family. The love was incredible! I am so thankful for everyone that has been a part of the journey whether it was for a long time or a short time, a good time or a bad time, it was a lesson and it made her better! thank you!
Now I’m not going to lie and sit here and tell you the drop off was easy because it wasn’t, but the fact that we helped her move in and she had some teammates and people she already knew there made her comfortable. She wasn’t alone so things started to get easier. I did have to say goodnight and on Saturday we spent some time together and finished getting everything that was needed, but we had to say goodnight again as she went to a school party and the student center.
Sunday was fathers day, the most bittersweet fathers day ever. But one that I will never forget. Your see I don’t do material things, Vanessa made me a photo collage of the years that passed of her and I. The most precious gift I ever received! we went to the beach and we stood in the water and we talked. I knew at that moment that she has the world at her finger tips all she has to do is put in the work. The breeze was nice the water was cool, but for a second I heard only the beach. I just stood next to me baby girl and enjoyed the moment, enjoyed the waves and holding my baby girls hand knowing she is going to be ok, that I’m the one that wont be.
I say this to the fathers because no matter how much the moms mean to their daughters, their fathers are their first and last hero. Put everything down and put your eyes on your baby girl and spend time with her, talk to her about nothing or everything. Go outside and play catch and talk, go on a walk and enjoy some conversation. Take her to go get ice cream like she is 5 years old and embrace every second you have because when time says that’s enough you have to let her hand go and let her take over the world and trust that she will be ok. The relationship I have with her is amazing and that will always stay strong, but it was built over the years. The very important years, I wish I can go back and right all of my wrongs for her because I wasn’t perfect. There is never a moment in this lifetime where she should ever come second! EVER! no matter how old they get, always remember she will always be the little princess. I miss her more than words can say, my eyes swell just thinking about. But the pride I have overwhelms every emotion!
Vanessa if you’re reading this, I love you! I’m so fucking proud of you!