Life Changes Lanes Abruptly 

My nerves feel as if my fingertips are being dragged across a rough piece of 40-grit piece of sandpaper.

Sniffles are dripping through the receiver of my cell phone.

“They are going to take me into surgery next,” says the voice.

Our daughter is strong, confident, and driven. But she’s also human. Being wheeled into an operating room is enough to shake even toughest of exteriors.

The day began as another Friday; not a day she would end up in the hospital.

I am sitting on a sofa 800 miles from my little girl – the same one who turned 24 a month ago. My wife, too, is on the other side, sitting on a tarmac waiting for the plane to unload. She’s still an hour’s cab ride away from holding our daughter’s hand.

As a parent, there is nothing you won’t do or give up for your children. And if a bottle of magic dust existed that would allow me to trade places with my daughter right now, I would gladly hand over a ransom.

I don’t need to see tears to know they are dripping down her cheeks, my heart hears them clearly.

The doctor has come and gone. Our daughter knows what is ahead. But knowing does not dilute the unknown.

I tell her I love her and that everything is going to be all right. I say I wish I could gently hold her in my arms.

Muffling sounds come from the other side.

“Someone is here. I need to go,” she says.

I discover an invisible force pushing back against my finger as it hovers above the glowing red button on the screen. Mercifully, the other end goes quiet.

My wife texts she is in a cab. It is raining. The driver says an hour.

Earlier today a friend told me of the birth of his first granddaughter and how he was given the honor to cut the umbilical cord. His words carried me back to a small hospital in western Pennsylvania when my daughter decided to arrive on a day Mother Nature decided to dust the landscape in white. I cut the cord that day as well. As much as I feel the memory is from yesterday, I know she is an adult, the time between dissipating into a mist of memories.

My phone dings from the kitchen counter. The doctor is going to hold for 10-minutes for my wife to arrive.

Twenty minutes later the map on my phone shows my wife is at the hospital. A text arrives saying the doctor’s held for my wife. I thank God – literally.

For the next several hours I catch snippets of sleep with the phone planted in my hand. A call comes each hour to share an update. Finally, a text says our daughter is headed for a room.

My wife calls. I know where my daughter gets her strength. Tears meet across the digital spectrum between us.

And now, as a family, we move forward.

-30-

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