Only my daughter Laura has the power to get me to eat a raw quail egg.
We did so at our favorite sushi restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she lives. I'd come from my home in Florida to speak at a conference and had only a few short hours to spend with her.
It's been five years since she moved away from home, and I think I've finally, finally, finally (maybe) stopped thinking of her as some feral child who needs me hovering over her, guiding her every move, breath, decision, and thought.
She's 25 now, capable, making more money than I am, going to school, and dating a guy who treats her well.
One thing I noticed on this trip: The older she gets, the better we seem to get along. Maybe it's because I no longer fret over whether or not she's paid her bills or cleaned her bathroom. Maybe it's because she sees my wrinkles and graying hair and takes pity on her dear old mom.
Maybe it's a little of both, or maybe it's something altogether different. I don't want to analyze it to death, but rather enjoy the too few times we're together.
Laura is my prodigal. Of my two daughters, she's caused me to shed the most tears. Although I love them both and couldn't choose one child over the other, my heart has always been the tenderest toward Laura.
I think crying and pleading with God over a wayward child either makes your heart hardened from self-protection or tenderized, like a piece of steak that's been whacked repeatedly with a mallet.1