EndNotes

College, AmeriCorps, the Army: The long letting go

Elizabeth Roberts,  who received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Washington State University, smiles during graduation ceremonies on Saturday at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum in Pullman. The Spokesman Review (Photos by TYLER TJOMSLAND The Spokesman Review / The Spokesman-Review)
Elizabeth Roberts, who received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Washington State University, smiles during graduation ceremonies on Saturday at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum in Pullman. The Spokesman Review (Photos by TYLER TJOMSLAND The Spokesman Review / The Spokesman-Review)

I remember the day my son started Kindergarten. I wore Yoko Ono-type sunglasses, not to shield the sun, but to shield my son from his mommy’s tears. Such an act of trust to hand-off your precious child to someone who may teach them, but never love them like a mommy loves. And so the separations between us went on: school, field trips, overnights to friends’ homes, church adventures, a red-eye flight to the East to attend three weeks of theatre camp, a week of volunteering at a migrant camp. Little short good-byes followed with lively reunions of hugs, and always animated stories of what transpired. 

Now soon…my son may pack up his life and be gone. He asked: “Will you be heartbroken when we don’t spend Christmas together?” I answered in theory: “Well, when one’s child is happy, that is what makes parents happy. So, when you are living far away and you are happy – I will be happy.” He simply smirked.

Launching children on their next adventures, demands we take time to assess what these steps mean. And while I believe it was simply a few years ago, I was headed across the country to embark on my young adult adventures, I feel old. And blessed. Parenthood provides a chance to become our best selves when we listen to our best teachers: our children.

As another transition looms, I can’t find those Yoko Ono sunglasses or words to explain my profound love for my son. As Michael Gerson writes in his column about dropping off his eldest child at college: “…The very best thing about your life is a short stage in someone’s else’s story.”  May our children’s stories continue as wonderful, safe and joyful adventures.

(S-R archives photo)




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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.






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