When you have children, there are those memorable moments that are etched in your mind. You remember their first steps, the first time they babble something that sounds like "Daddy," their first day of school. The list goes on and on.
Last week, I took my little girl to college. It wasn't like the first day of grade school; they come home after that.
Going to college these days is quite a production. Years ago, a cousin who didn't have a car went off to college on a bus. He had a suitcase and a duffel bag.
That was then.
Today, you have to go with a color-coordinated room theme. I think the theme of my daughter's room is pink, green and purple polka dots.
She arrived with an entourage that included me, her mother, her stepfather, her stepmother and her boyfriend.
It took three vehicles to haul everything.
I have to give high marks to the University of West Georgia. They had folks to help move her collected belongings on a trailer and then more folks to help move things up to the third-floor room. My heavy lifting consisted of a pillow.
If you want to know where to see parents and their college freshmen on move-in day, it is not at campus. It is at Wal-Mart.
Power strips and television cable were in high demand. Folks were buying the things they forgot while packing at home.
I secured the most sought-after prize: a power strip with a long cord.
"Where did you find that?" asked an exasperated father. It was the parental mission of making sure our kids had what they needed - or at least, what we thought they needed. The economy of Carrollton is much improved as a result.
With two sets of parents on hand, there was certainly the potential for differences of opinion, but that wasn't the case. We were all on the same team and we worked to get everything just right.
I find myself beginning to comprehend that this little girl, who has been a part of our lives for nearly 19 years, is quickly becoming a young woman. She is smart, independent and can do anything she sets her mind to.
I love her more than ever. I also worry more than ever. As she makes her foray into the adult world, she will realize that everything has a price or consequence. There are no more do-overs; this is the part of the game where we keep score and everything is for keeps.
She comes into the adult world when it is at a crossroads. She wants to follow in my footsteps and become a journalist. But what opportunities will be there when she completes her education?
I found all of this swirling in my mind, along with a lump in my throat as I saw the college campus in my rearview mirror.
I managed to leave without shedding a tear, although a pall of sadness swept over me. I know that from this moment forward, things will be different and I must adjust to the change.
But nonetheless, my love for her is forever and unconditional and I am proud of the woman she has become.
Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column runs every week in Sunday Life.