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We are missing our Chloe tonight.   As I write this, she is winging her way across the Atlantic on a trip of a lifetime.  At least her lifetime.   Sure, we’ve had great family trips to Europe, and more yet to come, but this is certainly very different for her.   Travelling with 14 classmates, sans parents to another country.  Another continent.   What kid wouldn’t be excited about that?

And, so, we are left here without her tonight.   Happy for her to be living such an adventure, at the same time trying not to focus on the emptiness that has suddenly pervaded the house.   One must live with Chloe to experience the scope of the energy that surrounds her.   She positively vibrates.   Even when she is alone upstairs in her room, one senses her presence.

That vibration thing can be a tad overwhelming sometimes for those of us more inclined to slink away to a quiet room.   Perhaps the most potent way to experience this energy is a car-ride.  During a short drive, it is de rigeur for Chloe to flip through, in rapid succession, fifty songs trying to find something that takes her fancy at that moment.  When she does finally settle on something, it’s either Country, Rap, or something she’s dredged up from the 80’s.   Now, I tell her that as far as I’m concerned, 80’s music could be carted away to the mid-Atlantic Ridge and sent to the deeps with a ton of bricks attached, and I wouldn’t shed a tear.  In fact, you can take the rest of the 80’s with it at the same time, except of course that very important piece where I met my Sarah.

Anyway, I digress.

So, here we are listening to Chloe-Fusion music and I can barely keep the car on the road because there’s hair and arms flailing about me, not to mention an unreasonable facsimile of the vocals.   Chloe and I share a number of traits, some good, some not.   This is one of those nots.  We both have singing voices that leaves one wishing someone had pulled us aside at a very young age and cauterized our vocal chords.   Anyone who happens to peer inside our vehicle as we pass must wonder what in the hell is happening in there.  Are we now selling Tasmanian Devils at the local Petsmart?

But this is our Chloe.  High on life and living for the moment.   How true it is that we learn from our kids.   They have so much to teach.   I see in Chloe elements that have skipped over me, but I want to grasp on to and embrace.   Every day she teaches me – she teaches all of us – what living should be like.   The importance of being REAL.  Of being alive and fully comfortable in one’s own skin.

So, on the day our daughter makes her first foray away from us my emotions are mixed.   Truly happy for her on one hand, truly missing her presence on the other.   And I hope that while on some motor coach cruising along the Rhine, Chloe scams the front seat and the control of the bus entertainment system.   And gives those kids a show they will never forget!

Love you my beautiful Chloe.   Have a FANTASTIC ride!