My son graduated high school a couple of weeks ago (or is it “graduated from”? I can never remember.). As he strode across the Memorial Stadium field – tall, long-legged, handsome, a high-honors designee – I felt slightly overwhelmed with a mixture of pride, happiness, and melancholy. Pride and happiness because Dylan is a wonderful young man who has an impressive intellect, a deep interest in history and politics, a warm heart, and a wicked-good sense of humor. Melancholy because soon he will be leaving us for his next adventure – college. All parents go through this transition, whether their children go off to another four (or more) years of school,attend technical training, or take a job away from the community. Some parents feel a powerful sense of relief because their kid has outstayed his or her welcome, while others have to fight back tears when they think about the big departure. Obviously, I’m one of the latter. Besides loving my son, I really, really like him – always have. Sure, he regularly makes me grit my teeth with annoyance, especially when he makes it obvious that he knows WAY more than either of his parents or when he chooses not to do something we ask him to do. But usually he’s great to have around; a fine conversationalist, interested in many subjects, and very funny. And when he’s gone, who will show me silly youtube videos that make me laugh out loud? How will I learn about the latest alt-folk-rock bands? Who will watch over-the-top shows like “Portlandia” with me? My husband is a dear, dear man but sometimes our senses of humor and musical interests don’t acoincide. Oh, I know he and I will be okay and we’ll enjoy our life together sans child – walking the dogs, going out to movies, cooking together, sitting on the porch with a glass of wine, and puttering around the yard (me pulling weeds, my husband master-minding the vegetable garden). But I also know that saying good-bye to my son and accepting the fact of the proverbial empty nest will not be an easy experience. I will have to allow myself to feel both the sadness and joy that accompany a beloved child’s flight from home.
So fly away, my fledgling, with my blessing and the deepest kind of love there is. I know you will soar high.