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)