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As I was waiting in frustrating traffic to take a left turn into the garage at American University on my way to Charlotte’s graduation last Saturday, it dawned on me that I fought back tears almost four years ago while sitting on the same stretch of street. The only difference was I was waiting to drop her off at her new freshmen dorm.

Charlotte’s four years at AU went by so quickly, at least for me and my wife. Suddenly, she has graduated and is starting her first job as a special education teacher in the Washington DC public school system. She is moving into a new apartment, getting ready to work full time, looking into her 401K and setting future goals.

We went down to DC last Thursday for the graduation festivities. As commencement began, I found myself tearing up as I flashed back to Charlotte’s first day of kindergarten as a shy five year old. The joy on her face after getting her diploma was a gift to my wife and me. It was pure jubilation after four years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication!

We had a wonderful family dinner on the Georgetown waterfront and toasted Charl0tte’s four years in DC. Leaving to fly home was tough. It always is. We won’t see her for a while and the fact that she has moved through another phase of the life process and is venturing further into adulthood caused me a bit of anxiety. The unknown can be scary. Then it hit me. It can be really wonderful, too! I am so proud of you, Charlotte! Congratulations! You will soar!