Eugene, Oregon is home to the University of Oregon. The Ducks.
Parents will get this...it seems like yesterday she was a toddler. Okay, the day before yesterday. We've gone through diapers, braces, volleyball, high school musicals, high school graduation. And then before you know it you pack up the car and buying books, dorm rooms, and all nighters, here we come.
There were many miles to go to get there so there I was at my gate at the Orlando airport at six in the morning, bag checked, ticket in hand, for my seven o'clock flight.
I'm not alone in saying this but flying used to be fun and an adventure. Oh it's still an adventure but a different kind of one. Crowded planes, crowded airports and make sure you get there two hours early.
Off I flew. West.
First stop was Phoenix.
I'd been there before but not for a while and the airport was the most packed of anyone I've seen. I went into one of those stores that sell magazines, to get some mints, and the checkout line was so long I left. Three times.
I landed, Maya picked me up and The Adventure began.
Man, it was great seeing her and also seeing places I'd only heard about. The campus, her apartment, where she worked (yay Dutch Bros. coffee!), beautiful hikes.
The day after I landed they had an outdoor performance of her a cappella group of which Maya sang lead. Her boyfriend, Josh, grilled burgers while we ate, watched, and listened.
Can you say Proud Poppa?
Went to a place called the Lani Moku Grill where we ate tasty garlic chicken and with it came the most amazing macaroni salad. Macaroni salad is not on my list of favorite things but this was dee-lish. I almost filled my pockets with it.
I have to tell you a story...my daughter has no idea how pretty she is. We were coming back to her apartment and I noticed a frat house next to it. I saw guys and I casually said to Maya that they know she's home. "No they don't, Dad." Dad used to go to college and we guys knew when every pretty girl left their dorm and when every pretty one came back.
They do too.
The day was full of snap, crackle, and pop. Maya had two ceremonies, one with all the graduating students and one with all the Psychology majors.
The first one was huge, we were in the Matthew Knight Arena home of the basketball team, and that place was full of smiling parents taking pictures and graduates in caps and gowns.
Maya was part of the group that sang the national anthem to open the festivities.
I mention Proud Poppa again and you know why.
All through it Maya said to me more than once, "I can't believe it's over." I gently reminded her that of father and daughter only one is a college graduate.
That day Maya, Josh, and I partied like it was 1999, 'cause that's what you do. And Maya was happy to announce that were no classes tomorrow!
The day I left was hard.
But it was so much fun being in college again and so much fun being with Maya.
I got on the jet and headed home.
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