"Out the door, kid!" A paper napkin from wedding reception became the repository for a joke that has lasted for twenty years. It's ensconced on the wall in our bedroom in a collage of photos of our daughter; photos that go through the years from infancy to adolescence and young adulthood. The conversation around that wedding reception table so many years ago had to do with the fact that Jessie being my only daughter, I would have a hard time letting her go. "Easy-peasy," I replied, to which I was challenged to put it in writing. So I did.
For months prior to her wedding, I secretly worked on a surprise for her; a song that expressed my pride in her, my love for her, but also my willingness to release her into the care of the young man who loved her differently, but just as much as I. In wedding ceremonies, I've often spoken to the parents of the couple, admonishing them of the necessity of their letting go of their children if the latter are to have a chance at building a good marriage. That release is the most difficult, yet most important gift they can give their children, and that evening so many years ago, I was called on to receive the counsel I had so often given. It was some of the best advice I've ever received.
A text message this morning invited me to join her for cappuccino or just plain joe at one of our favorite coffee shops. Writing was mentioned, but we didn't get any done. We just talked. A couple hours later, I dropped her off at her home and returned to mine. Neither of us accomplished anything, yet we both accomplished much, and for the cup drained and the soul filled, I am thankful tonight. "Out the door," indeed! But never out of my heart.