Do you remember how it was, starting out?

My first job out of college, after I earned my B.A., was several states away from home. Everything I owned fit into my car and a friend’s. I found a partially furnished, bottom floor apartment in an old home, on a tree-lined street, a doable 10 block walk to work in good weather. I had my clothes, my kitchen items, and my dreams. I was young, blonde, healthy, and single. In the year+ I lived and worked in upstate New York, I got my start, got my heart broken a few times, and had some great times. Mountains of snow that winter prompted a subsequent move to Florida, where several friends already had fled. I told my parents I had a great job there, which I did, after a month of hitchhiking to interviews. (Gas money was limited.) My mother would have killed me had she known.

I’ve been thinking about that time in my life as my son, with his new Bachelor’s degree, hunts for a job and an apartment he’ll share with a friend. I am so excited for him. It’s a little hard to be left behind but it’s now his journey, in that sense no longer ours. I know I will never know as much about him again as I know today. Some of that will be for my protection; the rest will preserve the privacy we all deserve. I also know that he’s become a great young man and he’ll have a wonderful future, the dysfunctional U.S. Congress and economy not withstanding.

It’s time and it’s right.  His time.

I know I’m fortunate to have family, friends, a home, financial stability, a belief in a God who will watch over our son, avocations I enjoy, and a career I really love. My son isn’t leaving me alone or bereft. He’s just leaving. (And maybe he’ll take some furniture so I can redecorate again!) I always knew this time would come. He’s been leaving bit by bit ever since we said our first goodbye at his Montessori preschool. Some day I will leave him too, and if he’s lucky, he will be the parent saying goodbye with love and mixed feelings.

I know this won’t be our last goodbye. It will be a significant one, commemorated by a trip to Ikea, I hope, and probably a few tears (mine, not his).

I hope he remembers what’s important. Life’s a gift: Enjoy the present. Leave every place better than you found it. Doing good is better than doing well. (Hopefully he’ll do both.) Most important, that he is loved.

Bye again, pookie. Have a great day.

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