And so it starts. Last week, I had to see my daughter off to teachers’ college.
Some of you may remember my daughter Margaret as the Magster. She used to write a regular column in the paper about life as a high school student. She wrote her last column about 10 years ago.
After graduating from St. Pete’s, she went to Carleton University to study history. Like a lot of young women her age, she suffers from anxiety and depression, which required her to take a reduced class load. The result was a long and challenging road ahead, which was made even longer and more challenging by the pandemic. But even with those challenges she managed to get her degree and now she’s off to teachers’ college and her mother and I couldn’t be more proud. My pride being mixed in with a lot of other emotions like separation anxiety and just anxiety in general.
Did I happen to mention that “teachers college” is in Thunder Bay?
She got accepted to Lakehead University which has one of the best teaching programs in Canada.
The only problem is that Thunder Bay is not exactly “just down the road”. It’s a 16-hour drive down the road.
I was originally supposed to drive her up there, but she asked her mother to drive her instead. Apparently, she was afraid that I would try and drive there in one shot, but I think it was because she knew I would be too emotional.
I’ve been fearing this day for years. To say my daughter and I have had a rocky history is an understatement. I wasn’t always the best father and it took a couple of young women from the Netherlands to make me realize my shortcomings. It’s also what lead Maggie and I to reconcile our differences and renew our relationship. That was 18 months ago.
She moved back in with me full-time along with her two cats. Now she’s gone off to university and I still have the cats.
The biggest issue I have is the fact that she’s so far away. If she should have a problem it’s not like I can just jump in the car and be there in a couple of hours.
I’ve already told her that we will be doing a lot of face time over the phone, at least for the first few weeks.
On the bright side one of her roommates is also a resident advisor, which has alleviated a good deal of my anxiety.
Now I just have to get used to having an empty room and not being able to knock on her door to ask her how she’s doing or how her day is going.
Before she left, I took her to her favourite restaurant, the Mumbai Masala Grill on St. Joseph, and we binge watched an entire season of “The Bear” on Disney+ on back-to-back nights.
The Bear is about a young chef who returns to Chicago to take over his brother’s restaurant after his brother kills himself. In the first season, he saves the restaurant from the certain bankruptcy when he finds a stash of money that his brother hid in cans of tomatoes.
In the second season, he turns the restaurant into a fine dining establishment. I’m over-simplifying the plot and there’s a lot more to the show than that, but you just have to see it for yourself.
Anyhow, it was nice to be able to just chill and watch TV with my amazing daughter who has been through so much and is about to embark on the next phase of her life.
As a father, you always hope your children will succeed at whatever they do and if they happen to trip up along the way, you’re always there to catch them.
In my heart of hearts I know that Maggie will one day be a wonderful teacher. Her goal is to teach high school history. I just hope that it’s at a school here in Ottawa and not some place else – that would be too much for me to take. Besides, who will take care of me when I get old and decrepit? Certainly not my two boys. They’re both still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives – not that they’re in any rush.
Dylan has taken a break from studies to build up his savings and James still has a year and bit to go to get his a degree in film studies. Neither one of them is going to be moving out anytime soon, which is fine with me. I’d probably go insane if I was left all by myself.
For now, I’m just counting the days until the Christmas break when Maggie can come home for a couple of weeks and the house will be full again.
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