The time between Allison's high school graduation in Sacramento, a rite of passage, and her enrollment at the University of Oregon, a larger rite, has gone fast. Not fast enough for her, however, as her last days in Sisters seemed endless. Diane and I were prepared (as in weeks of preparation) and anxious for her to finally get to the campus and settled in her dorm room in Eugene. We are melancholy watching her leave home this time. It's not that we've not been down this road before as Allison has always split her time with us and her birth-mom in Sacramento. This time is different. Allison will not be living in Sacramento or Sisters. There are lumps in our throats as we ferried her things from the car to her third-floor room in the LLC (Living-Learning Center) which is across the street from Hayward Field, the iconic track and field venue. She and Diane unpack boxes and arrange he clothes in the small wardrobe. My job is to get the computer and t.v. functioning (and to make some photos of the event). Her roommate, Alesa, from nearby Springfield, is already setting up her side of the room. With the situation basically in hand we leave for the rest of the afternoon, drive to our hotel and collapse on the beds. Moving day is wearing, plain and simple.
Our plan to meet for dinner in the dining commons doesn't happen because 5,000 other kids and parents have the same idea. Our last meal together until Thanksgiving is deli sandwiches. We will see Allison once more before we leave Eugene and head further west for a few days on the coast before returning to Sisters. In my head I am still going through the years of memories: elementary school plays, ballet classes and Nutcracker performances, soccer, piano, camping, and a trip to England in 2003. I let myself go back even further to first bike rides, first day of school, a skiing accident resulting in a broken elbow, and several "brave girl dresses" she earned for enduring some of the most unpleasant days of her life. Then there is moment Allison, at age three, gets her first doll, a Christmas gift beautifully wrapped in a big box. The doll cries and it's eyes blink when it's moved. Allison has the box in her arms and waves it around and the cry is audible within the box. Her nose and eyes squish together and she innocently asks, "How a box could cry?" The question tonight is "how a Dad could cry." There is no loss here to mourn, rather a great success. It's a quiet moment of reverie as I contemplate Allison's transition into adulthood. I'm proud to shed that tear.