My daughter has made it official: she will attend, beginning in August, the University of Oklahoma at Norman.
She had hoped to go to Michigan State and we had hoped she'd go to Michigan State as it is only an hour away, but OU offered her a much better deal than did MSU and about that I must confess I am a bit bitter. Here is exactly the kind of kid you want to keep in your state and we have to send her to Oklahoma because they have basically told her that she can attend for free. If she went to State, she'd come out on the other end around 40 large in debt. Alabama also made her a great offer (I mean like, free, too) and I was hoping she'd go there because it's "only" a 12-hour drive from here to there while OU is more like 16-17 hours by car, but she visited the Oklahoma campus a month or so ago and she just loved it there.
And there is this. You know the little covered wagon that comes out onto the field whenever the Sooners score a touchdown? The "Sooner Schooner?" It is pulled by two ponies named, of course, "Boomer" and "Sooner." It is in her deal with the University of Oklahoma that as a National Merit Scholar she can go to the stable and pet them any time she wants to. I am convinced that because of this, because of the ponies, that the University of Alabama, in spite of having the nicest campus I've ever seen (we went down for a visit, she and I, a couple of weeks ago) never had a chance.
While I am delighted because I know she will be happy at Oklahoma and will get a first-rate education and it not only makes fiscal sense it is in a very real sense a gift from God, this is at the same time the toughest thing I've ever had to go through. Our daughter is leaving. Our time together is measured now in days. She departs May 22 to go on a national tour this summer with a marching band and is due on the OU campus the day after that tour ends in August to try out for "The Pride of Oklahoma," which is what they call their marching band over there. So, as I say, she leaves on May 22 and then she'll be gone. How did this happen? She was just born! And, what am I going to do now?
Norman, Oklahoma is 1,050 miles away. I think of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters"...
Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine,
All of your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine!
And, if you need a friend,
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water,
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
And then I cry.