August 16th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Letters to the President #574: “The saddest moving day”

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Editor's Note: President Obama is a father of two daughters, and so am I. So I’m writing today, dad to dad.

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Dear Mr. President,

Whatever challenges you face in your term in office, whether for four years or eight, nothing you do will be tougher than what I did this weekend.

I took my elder daughter to college.

That’s right, we loaded up the vehicle (man, did we load it up! Hint: Telling the crew ‘We don’t have room’ will get you the same looks as if you started speaking in tongues) scored some fuel, pointed south, cued that annoying woman in the GPS system, and took the trip that I have dreaded since the day she was born. (To be accurate, it is actually one of two days that I have dreaded this way. The other daughter is still with us for a few more years, so this was the first of two terrible lashes.) My wife and I have been practicing not crying for weeks. And you think I’m kidding.

Now, it helps that she is going to a magnificent school. I’ve told you before how enormously impressed I am with Georgia Tech, and you’ll just have to get used to it, because I fully intend to do so over and over again. Their attention to detail, spectacular academic standards, and obvious commitment to their students all make it easier to feel good about where she’ll be. But still, she won’t be with us, and that’s a killer.

She’s always been independent, and she’s been away on many trips over her high school years, not to mention she’s been down at GT several times this summer for various events. So we’ve grown a little bit used to her bedroom being empty and we’re a little less likely to absentmindedly set her place at the table when she’s not going to be there. But she’s always been coming home eventually.

And I guess she still is, in a way. But long weekends, and holidays, and maybe summers (I say “maybe” because she is already making noise about foreign studies,) are not the same.

We will be close forever, I am quite sure. We will find endless opportunities to be near each other, and share laughs, and stories, and love. And we have enjoyed our times together as much as any parents and their children ever could. But I’m just writing to remind you, time is short. Your girls are growing up. And one day soon, being President won’t do a damn thing to fix your breaking heart.

If you get down that way, stop by and check on her for me. I’ll return the favor when your girls are gone.

In the meantime, Go Jackets!


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Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Reader

    Tom, Your letters about your daughters are always sweet, genuine and touching but this one brings tears to my eyes. As a daughter, it reminds me to stop and see things from my Dad's side. And although it may not help, I can tell you your daughter-as excited as she may be- is feeling the same heartbreak as you. (her sister...probably not so much, if I know sisters!) Thanks for sharing this story, I know there are thousands of dads out there going through this same thing in the coming weeks that will appreciate it.

    August 16, 2010 at 10:36 am |