As legions of our children our taking flight these days to go off to college this exciting time is also a whirlwind of emotions.
I want to share my inventory of emotions with you because I know they are universal.
HOPE. I remember when life was in front of me. As I watch my son in his excitement I am experiencing intermittent flashes of my own departure for college . The feeling that life had no boundaries permeated the moment. We all have since, experienced a balance -and hopefully not an imbalance -of some hopes realized , and a few crushed. So the first pull at my heartstrings is that my son will be insulated from the inevitable disappointments in life. I know that this is impossible, but that’s what hope is for.
YOUTH. My son and his friends are beautiful, handsome , strong , and their bodies seemingly unbreakable and devoid of any defects. Once again the memory plays tricks on me. I do remember youthful energy in my body of years past. I can easily recall the feeling of moving around effortlessly as if on a cloud. You didn’t have to be an athlete or thin, just young when life’s energy is peaking. Youth is really fleeting and the last vestiges of childhood are experienced at this time too.
PRIDE. Did you know that my son is the smartest kid around and destined for success? We all believe this of our own children. . Its parent pride on steroids and part of our desire as parents to constantly confirm that our parenthood has produced a beautiful result; a good person that is attractive in mind, body and spirit. Little do our kids know that today is as a big a day for us as it is for them , while we privately celebrate these essentially -selfish thoughts! ah!
FEAR As our kids careen towards their hopes and dreams the greatest struggle I have is to push back my misgivings for the hard things that can happen .Some by choice, some by bad luck. It is a cruelty of life that at the moment of joy we often think about those things that can take away the joy. We also are replaying in our minds all the steps we took . The thought has crossed my mind…”…have I said, shown and done everything to point this child in the right direction to make good choices in life?”
MEMORIES. The pictures of childhood in my mind are much clearer than the photos. This is a temporary condition of course. I have been secretly looking at some of these photos and marvel at the man who was my child. There are more memories coming of course, but the memories and the pictures are special on the day of departure.
ACCEPTANCE.: The only thing I can wish for today is that my son will be able to reach the same conclusions I have at this stage in my journey. Life is worth living, love is the single most important force in it and making the life of others better is far more important than making it better for yourself.
This is a bittersweet day indeed. I can’t wait for the holidays for our first re-union.