The First Goodbye
11 September 2017
On that bright, shiny, Monterey afternoon when your mom and I received the call from your birthmother Jessica that she’d chosen us to be your mom and dad, all I could thinking about was getting to say hello to you when you’d born in a few weeks. Having to say goodbye to you was never something that ever had crossed my mind.
But this morning as I drove west on the 50, headed into the office after dropping you off for your first day of school, my heart trembled and I fought back tears.
Earlier, your Mom and I had taken you into your Kindergarten classroom to meet your teacher Mrs. McGowan. We went into the classroom with you shyly hugging my leg. Then you moved forward to find the desk with your name written neatly in all caps: MACEE KRUSE. You wheeled your backpack next to your seat. You were tingly with excitement. Mrs. McGowan showed you which books you’d need that morning and then instructed Mom and me to take you upstairs to the “Opening”—the daily welcome session for all the school’s students. We were a little late so it had just started and I walked you over to the Kindergartners gathered on the front row. I told you that I loved you and I leaned down and you gave me a smooch and I said goodbye. Then Mom and I walked out of the room.
Out in the hallway, through the open door we peered at you sitting there.
So lovely, so little and so grown up in your blue skirt, grey sweater and white tights.
Your beautiful brown eyes were trained on the teacher speaking and your Mom and I lingered. My eyes rested on you—calling you silently—waiting for you to look back at me. You glanced at the girls next to you and then back again to the teacher. We lingered further—love’s gravity holding us, waiting for you to look back at us one last time. But you didn’t, you were a little student now—a kindergartner—your eyes stayed trained to the front of the class—already learning, soaking in new knowledge. Our eyes moistening, mom and I left you there.
Sitting in traffic, I realized something for the first time. It struck me that part of being a parent is saying good-bye. Over the next sixteen years, we’ll be saying goodbye to you a hundred times as you grow older—as you progress through school, as you fall in love , as you leave home for college, as you leave home for good, and then one day as you fall in love for good, and get married. I fought back tears, picturing the day when I’d give you a smooch and bid a last goodbye to you after walking you down the aisle.
Today, dear sweet Macee, your sappy old dad wiped away tears as he realized that loving you and saying goodbye to you are just two sides of the same coin. Each tearful goodbye to you is just a reflection of our ever expansive love for you. Macee, we love you so much: from your never ending questions on just about everything, to your sweet smile, to your kind heart, to your tight endless hugs. Dear sweet Macee, we love you to the moon and to all the stars in the sky.