Any place with a name like Santa Barbara has gotta be
Sound it out. San ... ta ...
Bar ... ba ... ra. Embedded in that
almost iambic pentameter straight out of a
canonized to sainthood are all those "Aaah!"s each
invoking and re-invoking "Agni" ...
"Aaah‑g‑nee" ... the first word of the Vedas,
the holy Hindu scriptures. And that's just its name. That's just
for starters. Naming is a class act. Santa Barbara's very name
is a tough act to follow.
That, at least according to the Vedas, is how it all started: with an
exhale, with a satisfied "Aaah!": Aaah! San ...
ta ... Bar ... ba ...
After three beautifully intense days and two nights with my daughter
Alexandra assisting her settle in to her new residence on the
University of California's Santa Barbara campus, we're standing in the
parking lot, she and I, arms around each other, embracing for what will
be the last time in eighteen years before we part company and start our
lives anew: she as an adult, no longer a child, a college freshman no
longer living in the home I built for her, me as a father living for
the first time without my precious baby girl who's now grown up to
become one of my closest confidants and friends.
Exhale. "Aaah!". It's time for me to leave. It's time for me to leave
my darling Girly Girl here, and go. "I Love You Daddy" she
says, her lips an inch away from my
I can feel her long auburn hair caressing my neck. "I Love You Girly" I
say, and although I'd
this would be a difficult moment (for both of us, for her,
for me, especially for me), it's not. It's a moment of
victory, a moment of triumph. This is what she prepared for.
This is what I worked for. This is what she studied hard for. This is
what I flew away from her on all those business trips for. This is what
she chose. This is what I intended to provide for her.
Now it's here. The moment has finally come. It's a rich, full moment.
Rich in poignancy. Full of love. It actually surprises me there's no
tears. I thought there'd be tears. But there aren't. We exchange
smiles, mine coming from the warmest place I can ever possibly come
from, hers coming from a place so deep it's as if the tips of her toes
are smiling all the way up her body gathering all her celestial energy
along its path, amplifying it out through her radiant face at me.
After the briefest pause, she turns and walks away. I slowly drive out
of the parking lot, turning around looking back for her one last time.
She doesn't turn around, and after that, neither do I.
"Aaah! Santa Barbara. San ... ta ... Bar ... ba ... ra ...".