My advice to parents just starting out on their journeys with young children is simply this: Don’t blink.
Shortly after my daughter Taylor graduated from Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology in Myrtle Beach [via Myrtle Beach High School], we took our first drive to Charleston in 2012 for College of Charleston’s freshman orientation.
Taylor had been accepted to a couple of other schools, but CofC appealed to her the most, and I believe this was one of the best decisions she has made thus far.
I have been blessed in my relationship with my daughter. The two of us have always been simpatico with similar personality styles, and we seem to have been cut from the same cloth. Some even say we walk the same, which makes me laugh.
There was never a period of rebellion, and she never seemed embarrassed to have me around – never like, “just drop me off here, Dad – I’ll walk the rest of the way.” The two of us communicate easily, make each other laugh, and I can only speak for myself here – I just plain enjoy being around her.
Back to the “don’t blink” part.
Taylor’s CofC experience has come full circle now, and she will walk at The Cistern next week, a newly-minted graduate with a bachelor’s in communication. She completed her classes in the fall, but chose to take the graduation walk with the bulk of her friends.
Charleston, though a couple of hours down the road from me in Myrtle Beach, could well have been in any other place from the standpoint that she was alone in a new city, going in cold and starting fresh.
But something about this young woman is her innate ability to make new friends. This is not new: She has had that gift since she was very little, and I believe this goes to her personality – authentic, kind, quick to smile, empathetic and hilarious. Her beauty radiates from within a sweet soul.
I am impressed with the no-doubt lifelong friends she has forged down there in the Holy City – from classmates, early dorm-mates, roommates, bosses, coworkers, professors and Quidditch mates [for those of you wondering about that, Quidditch has been a thing for years on campuses the world over]. Like attracts like – and she has found her tribe.
My only regret about this period in her life is that I didn’t make the trip to Charleston nearly as much as I should have. Forgive me for that, daughter.
Taylor has never had a problem telling me where we stand – and if I start to annoy her, I would know about it immediately.
Here’s to you, my lovely daughter. Your father is so very proud of you now and always.
NOTE: Thank you, Monsy Hernandez Engeseth for the awesome painting, featured at top.