My son has been at school for four years now; he’ll graduate in May. And for those four years, it’s been the back-and-forth between home and school, vacations and study. The first two years were nothing but gripes about how boring life was back at home; our provincial Rhode Island town can’t hold a candle to the panorama of Boston. Lately, however, I sense a change in that perception. As graduation nears and the prospect of “real life” looms, the (somewhat fragile) security of home looks pretty good, after all.
I walked through the house last night, surveying the garbage bags filled with clothes (why use a suitcase when you can use a trash bag??!!), boxes of books and CDs, and other stuff, thinking “OK, I won’t miss this extra stuff.” But I will miss the boy whose stuff it is. The lives of both my son and daughter are etched into my very being: whenever they leave, a part of me goes with them.
I don’t hope he comes back after graduation; not at all, although circumstances may dictate that he does for a while at some point. But I do hope that as their lives progress, my children will find a place of sanctuary, when needed, with their father and I as well as with the people and places that shaped them.
As Glenn left today, words from the Book of Ruth came to mind: “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (1:16).
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not about to follow my kids into the broad reach of young adulthood. But what I do hope, at this point in their lives, is that what we have shared throughout the process of growing up as a family will stay with them and nourish them on their life’s journey.
Family relationships constantly change and grow. How do you feel when your children have moved on, or when a significant family relationship changes?