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Twenty Three Days

 

Twenty three days.

Twenty three short days.

That’s the amount of time left until Son reports to university and begins his college career.

He won’t be living at home and commuting to school. Nor will he be moving out into his own place to attend college nearby. He’s not even moving across the country.

In this instance, he’s crossing an ocean to go to school in a different time zone, one that is six hours behind us. He’s chosen to attend college back in the US.

I want to make clear that I am excited for him, because I truly am. Oh to be that young again, with so many choices and decisions and ideas and plans!

We know the school well, have visited before. He chose it because he said it ‘felt right’, and I could see that for myself.

He knows what subjects intrigue him, where his interests lie, what his strengths are. He’s tentatively selected a major, International Affairs, but beyond that he wants to open his mind and be receptive to new subjects, theories, ideas, discoveries, experiences.

It is a rite of passage. This is what we raise our children to do: grow up, develop, mature, become young adults who go into the world in search of their own path. Their own journey. Their own life.

It isn’t as if he hasn’t traveled before, or been away for some period of time. He’s a hardy traveler who’s been to many countries, including halfway around the world to Thailand for a school volunteer service project. One summer he was gone for three weeks attending an outdoor teambuilding and leadership program. Last summer he was gone for a month, working as a Junior Counselor at that same summer youth camp.

He isn’t a naive babe in the woods; he’s generally sensible, careful and knows how to get around. He knows right from wrong. We’ve talked candidly about the challenges and dangers lurking in this world. That not everything is as it seems.

I also know that this is not the end of his being with us, living with us, sharing our daily lives. Plane reservations are already made to bring him home for the holidays at the end of the semester; interim holidays he’ll spend visiting family in the US.

Nor am I worried so much about him being physically so far away. We can jump on a plane and be there in less than a day if need be. My brother could be there in less than 6 hours’ drive. His best friend’s parents are only 45 minutes away; they are the type of people you could call, would call, in the middle of the night if the situation warranted that.

In this wondrous age of modern technology, I know that I’ll be able to stay in touch with email, or I can catch him on Facebook.

I can Skype with him face-to-face when I really need to see his smile, hear his voice, look into his eyes, read his emotions.

It won’t be exactly when and how I want to communicate with him, and I may have to wait longer to get ‘my fix’ of him. But still, the opportunities to stay connected are there.

I expect that he will return at the end of the school year to spend next summer with us, and so he will be living with us under the same roof again.

We’ll be able to share most meals together, pass each other on the stairs. We’ll hear how his day went, ask him to walk the dog or take out the garbage or run some errand. We can discuss current events, watch a television show together.

We’ll have a sense of his comings and goings, who his new friends are, who he is becoming.

But I know that as he progresses on his journey, at some point it will cease to be him living with us and become him visiting us.

And that is what is tearing me up inside.

Twenty three days…

 

Image credit: Wishedauan portfolio 2703, freedigitalphotos.net

 

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