I know a thread like this may set itself up for a good dose of diss and ridicule from those who may think it’s too syrupy coming from a dad, but tonight, I don’t care. I miss my kids. They’re not “kids” anymore. Now 19 and 21, they’re on their way, finding their nitch and what scratches their itch at the U, and are generally happy campers. But flying off this time was different. For the first time in 19 years, they weren’t aboard, and with some 4500 miles of separation between us, tonight, I can feel the distance. There’s e-mail and Skype and Vonage and Pac10, but that’s not what I’m talking about. The wife and I are fine, and so are the kids, but through all the filing and rearranging, we got to going through boxes of pictures tonight and, there they were. One of those cliché but poignant moments of it all seems go by fast. Too fast. I wouldn’t wish to freeze time or go back in time. We’re doing the adjustment work necessary with focusing primarily on present and future. But there are those moments of reflection, even for tough dads, when I remember how we used to dance with our kids on our feet in the kitchen. It is those kinds of memories which catch like sweetened lozenges in the throat and remind us both of what a treasure it is to have been blessed with their presence if for just a brief spectrum of time. To those dads who have kids and they’re still young and “around the nest”, give’m a hug, coach their baseball and soccer teams, go to their musicals, help them fix their stuff, drive them all over God’s creation and have them over to your place for movies and parties all you can. It’s a good investment which may or may not yield dividends all that visible and immediate, but will come back as reassurance at moments when you miss them. Their arrival is so sudden, but does not seem nearly as quick as their leaving.