My son, our youngest is taking his driver’s test in a couple of weeks. How can this be? Wasn’t the summer after sixth grade just a few months ago? “Let’s do the Time Warp Again…” Where did those years go, when he could walk under the overhang on the kitchen island without bumping his head? That wasn’t so long ago was it? “Let’s do the Time Warp Again…”
For me, as a dad, the drivers license is the defining moment; the end of dependence. Each time it’s been a bittersweet event. Pride that my child, my son has conquered this milestone, moved one large step closer to manhood, and away from childhood. That’s all good right? Yes, all good, I won’t have to drop what I’m doing at inconvenient times to drop him off, or pick him up, or run him on errands, or a thousand other things.
But now, he’ll just do all that on his own; without us, without me. It’s all a natural progression towards adulthood and complete independence. Right?
“What I’d really like Dad is to borrow the car keys. See ya later can I have them please… and the Cat’s in the Cradle….”
His life will be fuller, his independence will grow, and well, we will spend less time together. I’ll miss that. I know I will. I hope he will too.
The empty nest; all parents joke about it, hey they’re gone! Hurray! Sleep, privacy, a clean house, all those things we have been missing for so long. We’re sure it will be new found FREEDOM.
Our second child my daughter, left for an overseas trip the other day. Six months she’ll be gone, after living with us at home again for the past year and a half. We all have our ups and downs, our points of contention, but gone is gone. I have to admit that although I’ve been through this so many times in the past; trips to camp, off to college and the dorm, school in another country, etc. I always find myself aching with a sense of loss, each and every time.
Anika has been on her own for a while and when she hasn’t visited for a time, it’s kind of like we all need a fix, as though we’re slipping out of control until we connect again. The frequency of phone calls outbound and inbound seems to increase as the time since that last visit falls further into the past. The same happens with her sister when she is gone. She has planned this departure for some time, but still, the ache is there. It’s like I wasn’t ready. Just like every time before.
This is the first time that both girls have been a good distance from home at the same time. Our nest is now two-thirds empty. Little brother remains, a freshman in High School. I thought today about his future, when he will be off on his own. His sports put us on the road together week-end after week-end much of the year. It’s a rare thing for Mom, Dad and son to spend so much time together. I cherish it, because I know that it will end sooner rather than later. The completely empty home, I know it’s inevitable, but I am not eager for that day to come.