Away goes my baby, but the lump in the throat stays |

Away goes my baby, but the lump in the throat stays

Jim Morgan

I’m fighting a pretty good case of melancholy today. It’s not the holiday blues.But it is a case of loneliness.I’m missing my baby.I need to clarify. My wife didn’t leave me. And neither did either of our Labrador retrievers – although to be honest, there have been a couple of mornings when I’ve wished the new 14-week-old puppy to disappear.No, I’m feeling melancholy because this morning I had to say goodbye to my baby girl, who was flying back to Alabama.Actually she’d not much like being referred to as my baby girl. After all, she’s old enough to legally order a beer in a bar. But there’s no changing the fact she’s the younger of my two girls. Hence, she will always be the baby girl.

I don’t know why this time saying goodbye hit so hard.Well, I think I do.Her older sister, Annie, will be getting married next summer. I’ve already resigned myself to losing that daughter. But it’s OK. Annie’s beau is, as they say down South, “a good un,” and we’re glad to have him in the family.But I’m not ready, at least not yet, to lose my baby. Funny thing is, among my brothers – there are four of us – the joke is my twin got all of the compassion genes. I’m not the emotional one. Yet, driving away from the East Terminal at Denver International Airport this morning I felt this big lump in my throat.

Christina had been out of the car all of 30 seconds and my mind’s conjuring flashbacks from Christmases past, including a couple when she and her sister were up well before the moon had set and the sun had risen.There was a time when she could curl up on my lap wearing a pair of those one-piece pajamas and smelling like Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo ready for me to read her Christmas stories until she falls asleep.Driving along, I laugh out loud at the realization that in two decades she’s gone from feigning sleep on Christmas Eve, requiring me to carry her upstairs and tuck her in bed, to tucking me into bed this Christmas Eve at 9:30 p.m. and then her staying up until Lord knows when.Having her here was just plain fun.We were able to ski together three mornings and it made me feel good to share Summit County from the mountaintops at Copper and Keystone, where the views and not the altitude were breathtaking.While she’s more accustomed to warmer climes, she managed last week’s colder-than-normal temperatures just fine. In fact, it only served to make her pink cheeks even pinker.

It had been four years since she’d last skied but by Sunday she was wearing me out.Earlier today, one of my co-workers stuck her head in the door and asked me what I got for Christmas. “Did you get a bunch of fishing lures and flies?” she wanted to know.We made small talk for a few moments. I learned of the nifty tool kit she got and I told her about a camera my wife bought me.I should have said the best present was having my baby girl here, but I didn’t want that lump to reappear in my throat.Publisher Jim Morgan writes a Tuesday column. He can be reached t (970) 668-3998 ext. 240 or

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