I’ve known that it’s been coming for some time… He’s been making plans and preparing, and his mother and I have been helping when needed. But it’s coming a little sooner than I would like. The oldest of my three children is moving out on his own today.
It’s been a long time coming, 25 years coming, and a week hasn’t gone by that I haven’t thought about days like this. When our first child was born, friends and colleagues shared stories of their parenting experiences that filled me with dread. Tales of “the terrible twos“, middle schoolers who wanted nothing to do with their parents, teens who disappeared with the family automobile, and young adults who left home to never be heard from filled my head.
I suppose that now is a good time for some background. So many friends have told me that they were happy when their kids moved out, which has left me with the impression that I am an odd ball. I adore my kids, and I absolutely love having them around… When my wife and I have celebrated our wedding anniversary, Valentines Day, birthdays, or any other notable event, the kids were there with us. They’ve always been a part of what we did as a couple.
As the kids grew older, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop… waiting to experience what others had shared… and I kept waiting, and waiting. As parents, we didn’t share in those experiences; that credit goes to my wife, as many that know me will attest, I can be a difficult friend/spouse/team-mate. Our children remained engaged, loving, and present. And as they became young adults they were a pleasure to be near.
During the years that our kids were finishing University, their mother and I were living abroad in Europe. I recall a conversation in which we were inquiring what each of them were planning for Spring Break so we could make travel arrangements to get them to Florida with their friends. Each had responded that they wanted to spend the break with us. My heart swelled.
I enjoy seeing my children each day, listening to stories of their lives. I continue to tell myself that this is not the other shoe dropping. I am so excited for this next chapter of my child’s life and the world that is opening to them. I’m certain that I’ll continue to see my son and hear from him regularly. But right now, my heart (like so many other parents in this situation) hurts at the prospect of not being able to hug him “whenever”.
If you’re able, give yours a hug, and as always, be intentional.