Well, that day has finally arrived!
It was college campus day for us and we made sure that we were not going to miss this session. The buildup was not without mixed emotions. We decided to drive separate cars as I had a scheduled appointment later that afternoon.
As we arrived at the main hall, my son was instructed to line up at the counter to receive his instructions for the day. We were then herded to our group and followed a college rep who led us to our next destination – the student union hall. The assessment testing area was being prepared so we were asked to simply relax until the appropriate time.
Then it dawned on me…The parents were not needed for this campus day event!
There were some parents in attendance and my presumption was that most came together in one car. I asked another student leader what the schedule would be for the rest of the day. He said that it was mainly for the students as they would be guided through many orientations and tours. When I asked him if parents were encouraged to stay, he told me that we “can” stay but it was not necessary.
I pulled my son aside and asked if he was comfortable with me leaving so soon – he said that would be OK. We said goodbye and I left the hall to return to my car.
During the walk, I reflected upon the eighteen years that seemed to have passed me by like a hummingbird on its way to a better nectar pool. Although it was only campus day orientation, my heart was preparing for that moment when the “goodbye” would mean moving on with his life. I was happy for his next stage in life and it also rang true for me as well – my next stage in life.
While I was in my car, I noticed a couple of other cars leaving as well. I wondered what those parents were thinking while driving away from the campus.
When he came home eight hours later, he was excited about his experience. Surround by some friends from his current school, he saw an entirely new world opening before him. He could pursue his dreams and become whoever he wants to be.
As for dear old dad, I am happy that this journey has yielded a positive result. In spite of those difficult years in high school, he will finally begin his next life chapter in the Fall. I will only have him for a few more years and after that, he will be living his new life as well.
Am I ready to become an empty-nester? Not yet.
However, I know that day is coming faster than I would like. In the meantime, the remaining years I have him with me will be cherished for a long time.