By Walter GeigerI first wrote about our amazing May Melton Geiger and the miracle of her birth to aging parents following a harrowing pregnancy 18 years ago this month on the occasion of my first Fathers Day.I have loved her since the first day I saw her on a grainy ultrasound image and that love has grown stronger each day since.I recall vividly how my hands shook as I cut the umbilical cord that connected her to the life-giving sustenance provided her in her mother’s womb where she had been read to at length and prayed over by hundreds. Now the time has come to cut another cord and let her leave the nest.Friday night, she will graduate from high school with high honors well within the top 5% of her class and a Zell Miller scholarship winner.May Melton, a strong Christian, has opted to forego her senior class cruise and instead will go to Nicaragua on a mission trip.Shortly after returning from that adventure, she will embark on another as she moves to Athens for summer semester to begin her studies at the University of Georgia. It seems like just yesterday that I first laid eyes on her beautiful mother in Athens but it has been nigh 38 years ago.May Melton has always astonished us. She was walking and talking far sooner than other kids her age. Early on, she developed a love for reading, devouring every book we put in front of her. As a result, she had good study habits, listened in class and excelled in school. She racked up As and lamented the very few Bs she got in her academic career.Dads have interesting, complicated relationships with their daughters or, at least, they should have. It is our job to teach them about males and the proper roles males should play in their lives. We are supposed to be a good example of gentlemanliness. It’s hard to do. I have failed at times and I regret that.May Melton was a Daddy’s girl. I delighted when, as a toddler, she squealed as she rushed into my arms when I got home from work. We shared fishing adventures and I made up a whole series of stories about the mythical ‘˜Windfairies’ that I regaled her with at bedtime. She always wanted to hear more. Little girls grow up and they grow up fast. One day, you turn around and your toddler is an adolescent. Another day, it is suddenly ‘˜not cool’ to hug and kiss Daddy at carpool anymore. I remember that day and the tears that welled up in my eyes.Soon, that adolescent is a teenager and the boys start calling and showing up at the house. That is when all the work parents put in as role models begins to pay off. Thus far, May Melton has made good decisions in life and I am confident she will continue to do so. That is not to say things have always been rosy. May Melton is strong-willed. Any suggestion that she clean up her room, which sometimes looks as if a hurricane just passed through, will be met with rigid resistance. Her way is always the best way. If you say it is dark, she may argue it is light. I have no doubt she could debate the Devil himself and win.I understand that she will grow out of this at about age 25 and I will no longer be the dumbest, uncoolest guy on the planet but, for now, I am generally relegated to that role and I understand it. You see, I know that within the calm eye of that hurricane resides Daddy’s girl ‘“ the one who cooed at and kissed me; the one who sang along with the Stones on the ride to school; the one who spent eight nights at my side and wouldn’t leave me while I was deathly ill at the Medical Center of Georgia.Though I have had a role in shaping this child, she is very much more a product of the teaching and tutelage of her mother and her grandmother and namesake, May Wingfield Melton, who taught her to be a lady.Perhaps most of all, May Melton has paid those examples forward by being a superb role model for her little sister when she is not attempting to bash said sister’s head in for wearing her shoes, dress or using her hair products in the bottle-cluttered shower they share. The other day I woke May Melton for school by singing softly into her ear a lullaby I sang to her often and remember my mother and grandmother singing to me.Bye, bye baby buntin, Daddy’s gone a’huntin Gone to get a rabbit skin to wrap his baby buntin in As she shook off a deep sleep, she smiled that beautiful, 1000 kilowatt smile that only she possesses and all was right with my world.Soon there will be one less lunchbox and water bottle to fix in the morning, one less mouth to feed at the table and perhaps a modicum of peace and quiet around the house. Our baby is off to college and is set on emerging as Dr. May Melton.I have no doubt she will succeed. After all, she is amazing! Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and the Pike County Journal Reporter.