Thursday, August 20, 2009


Yesterday, my daughter and I made the 3.5 hour drive to Millikin University to start her new adventure -- College! Our day started at 6:15am at Starbucks, followed by the drive to Decatur. It was a fun drive. We listened to music, sang, laughed, talked, etc. and before we knew it we were there!

When we arrived, we met her roommate and her father, who were very nice. She is a theater major which is cool. When we entered the room, she was playing the soundtrack from "Wicked" (which was the same thing we were listening to when we drove up). So needless to say, that was a good match!

It took about 2 hours to unload the car, get everything moved into her dorm room, and get about half the stuff unpacked. After that, we went shopping, got her mailbox and meal plan squared away, set up her laptop, and paid a visit to the bookstore. Note to self: the Millikin Bookstore is way expensive for books! We got most of them from Follett but there were 5 we couldn't get. We will definitely be getting books from Follett and other sources in the future.

I left her decorating and arranging her room with her roommate. It was nice to see her excitement for getting everything 'just right'. I feel really good about her and Millikin. It should be a good year! By the time I got back home, I was exhausted and went to bed way earlier than usual.

Today when I woke up, the house was SO quiet!! I am already missing her. I went into her room and just sat on the bed for a while before going to work. Lots of memories in that room -- 18 years worth. She lived her whole life with that room as her homebase. Seeing it without her and much of her stuff was a real indicator that change is in the air. And my heart beat a little faster. (It is beating faster again, even as I write this)

Change is a constant, even though we'd like to avoid it most of the time. Change is good, most of the time. It spurs us to grow as people; it brings perspective to life; it forces us to confront our choices and confirm our beliefs; all of which help mold us to become more fully the individuals we were destined to be.

Our kids need to leave home to begin that transition. And we parents need to encourage them to spread their wings, and trust that we have laid a strong foundation to support them when they take those next steps forward. Transitions are never easy, but always necessary in life's journey.

Having just wrote all that, I can tell you that it is going to be a hard transition for me. Not because I don't think she can handle it. I think she is very prepared for college, has a good heart, and will succeed.

No, it is because I have shared every moment in this home with her and now I have to face the reality that A) this new life phase is one I won't be sharing with her (not directly at least), and B) this is going to change our relationship because she will change. I know it is all for the better, but did I mention I am not fond of change? Yeah.

When women are in labor, there is a point when they pass through 'Transition'. This is a painful period where the body has to make adjustments in order to prepare for the actual birthing of the baby. Although our 'College Road Trip' to Millikin was not nearly as difficult as Transition #1, it marked the second Transition I have experienced with my daughter. I imagine the third Transition will be when I walk her down the aisle (oh my!).

I am excited! I am proud! I am also sad and nostalgic. I am a bundle of emotions all revving up inside. So I am going to have to lift all of that up to the Lord and know that He will keep Laura safe and sound as her freshman year begins at Millikin.

You go girl! Have fun! Study hard! Build friendships! We love you!!!!!! (And don't forget that Skype is your friend...)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Chicago Comic-Con this weekend!

Sometimes you just have to let the 'inner kid' out to play! (Of course, some would say I do that entirely TOO often but that's a topic for another blog post)

So I have a three-day pass to the Chicago Comic-Con (Wizard World) and I am really excited about going. I could not attend the San Diego Comic Con (the BIG Daddy!) so this will have to do. And, I get to bring my son Ryan along with me to share in the 'geeky goodness' (as my friend Rico would say). I haven't been to a 'con' in a very long time so this is going to be a real good time.

We have our Green Lantern t-shirts, our wristbands, and our cash and we are heading out on Friday to explore every inch of the place (and maybe watch some panel discussions if Ryan can sit still long enough). And I get to go back on Saturday to hang out with a bunch of gaming buddies! Woot!

There will be plenty of celebrities there: Ray Park (Darth Maul), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Chris Heyerdahl (Stargate Atlantis), Michelle Rodriguez (Lost), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), Doug Jones (Silver Surfer), Billy Dee Williams (Lando), Daniel Logan (Bob Fett, SW Ep II), Scott Campbell (Spiderman Artist), Michael Hogan (BSG), Edward Olmos (BSG), and Margot Kidder (Lois Lane). And there are lots I did not list here.

I went to the opening on Thursday late afternoon to get a quick preview. There were already a lot of people there and about 1/3 of the booths were still in a state of flux but there were tons of exhibitors already set up with just about everything you can think of. I saw some handmade Katana Blades that were amazing (but out of my price range). And there must be hundreds of artists in Artist Alley. Wow! I scored some N.C.I.S. Identification and Vehicle badges for my wife (she loves that show).

Just to be clear: I will not be wearing Spandex or costumes. Believe me, you do NOT want to see me in Spandex! But I will definitely get a photo of me with the 501st in full stormtrooper armor! Hmmm.. maybe Vador will be there too!

Bring it on! And Live Long and Prosper!