I was up at 4 a.m. this morning, dropping my son off at O'Hare. It's his first time flying alone, and yet as I watched him print out his boarding pass and wheel his suitcase through security, as I could think was that he looked like an old, seasoned pro at this travel and adventure thing. He's on his way to Baltimore, where he'll be picked up at the airport by two midshipmen and then be on his way to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he is participating in a special STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) program. I am so proud of him, and I can't even express the (bittersweet) joy I felt today watching my son make his way happily and confidently into the big wide world.
And here's the coolest thing about where he's going: the US Naval Academy has been proud to have helped shape the lives of countless outstanding individuals, including 1 President of the United States, 2 Cabinet Members, 16 Ambassadors, 24 Members of Congress, 5 State Governors, 5 Secretaries of the Navy, 1 Secretary of the Air Force, 5 Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 4 Vice Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 28 Chiefs of Naval Operations, 9 Commandants of the Marine Corps, 2 Nobel Prize Awardees, 73 Medal of Honor Awardees, 52 Astronauts, 46 Rhodes Scholars, 24 Marshall Scholars, 110 Olmsted Scholars and 30 Fitzgerald Scholars. Seriously, the list of USNA alumni is pretty incredible.
It is so true that time just flies when you are a parent: It feels like just yesterday when I was watching Daniel take his first ever wobbly steps. Hold your little ones today and always, love them up as much as you can, because before you know it, they will be flying the coop.