Yesterday I took my oldest to his new college campus. We checked him into his dorm room, the typical white washed cinderblock room with a tall wide window, two desks, two beds, two closets and two dressers. We walked to the student center, past groups of young adults chatting and laughing. My boy walked in as if he were entering his old tree house, with confidence and comfort that shocked me. He got his student ID and his schedule. He seemed at ease, almost accustomed as we walked the campus, map in hand.
I, on the other hand have been a human sized stomach full of butterflies, no worse, than butterflies…more like a stomach full of hornets. The more comfortable he seems, the more sickened I become. I continue to watch him taking steps into adulthood…steps that I know are glorious and right…but all I can see are his steps away from me.
I found an article, written by a father delivering his son to college for the first time. Reading it feels as if someone tapped into my heart and mind and poured out my thoughts onto paper.
“The emotions of a parent, I can attest, are an odd mix: part pride, part resignation, part self-pity, even a bit of something that feels like grief. The experience is natural and common. And still planets are thrown off their axes… Eighteen years is not enough. A crib is bought. Christmas trees get picked out. There is the park and lullabies and a little help with homework. The days pass uncounted, until they end. The adjustment is traumatic…But with due respect to my son’s feelings, I have the worst of it. I know something he doesn’t — not quite a secret, but incomprehensible to the young. He is experiencing the adjustments that come with beginnings. His life is starting for real. I have begun the long letting go. Put another way: He has a wonderful future in which my part naturally diminishes… Parenthood offers many lessons in patience and sacrifice. But ultimately, it is a lesson in humility. The very best thing about your life is a short stage in someone else’s story. And it is enough…18 years is a window that closed too quickly. But, my son, those days have been the greatest wonder and privilege of my life. And there will always be a room for you.” -By Michael Gerson, Washington Post, August 19, 2013Tomorrow I will drop off my boy, and with a final hug, I will let him go…let him live and grow and experience great and hard things. While my heart breaks I will try to smile. Over the lump in my throat and the weight on my chest I will yell out, “Great Scott, it’s the Golden Knight.”