Saturday, August 31, 2013
He's Leaving Home, Bye-Bye
No summer ever lasts long enough, but this summer has passed more swiftly than the career of a reality star. That's because this summer --- the one that's just now bitten the dust --- was the last summer before my son Brandon went off to college.
A child leaving home to begin college years is a rite of passage many parents would rather pass on than pass through. Yes, we want our children to have an exciting, stimulating, and rewarding college experience which will enrich them for the rest of their lives. We want them also to never leave the house.
"Welcome to Johns Hopkins!" beamed just about everyone we encountered yesterday as we moved Brandon into school. "Brandon, we know you're going to love it here!"
"And, Dad, we're spiriting your son away and you're never going to see him again!"
Everything seemed so nice at college. Friendly faces of students and staff everywhere. Lovely green campus. Promises of courses and activities to suit every taste, talent, and temperament. Special receptions, outdoor cafes, loads of cute girls! Why would Brandon ever want to return home?
To watch me color my beard and type blog posts nobody reads?
It seemed such a short time ago I was trundling him off to his first day of kindergarten. All that crying and screaming; I thought I'd never calm down! Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago we were collecting Beanie Babies and watching Rug Rats? Actually it was, but Brandon wasn't there. Why hadn't he shown up for any of that fun stuff the last 11 years?
By the time move-in day was over, Brandon was fully ensconced in his new digs with a couple of new friends in tow waiting for him to eat. "Now, Dad," he said as I prepared for the lonely drive home, "feel free to come down and visit me any time you like!"
That's m' boy!
"Just call for an appointment first. Maybe a couple of weeks or so in advance."
Fortunately, there were no steep cliffs on the drive back home!
So what do I do now? Many people have suggested I get myself a dog, an idea which has some appeal. After all, a dog is man's best friend. Why not get myself a nice Irish Setter or Shetland Sheepdog?
"Here boy, here boy!" I'll call to him. "Fetch the ball and I'll reward you with a discussion of the latest Coen Brothers' movie! Come on, here's a milk bone, what books you reading lately? You think the President should act on Syria? Hey, why aren't you talking?"
Maybe I'll think about a cat instead.
I guess there's just no way to put the genie back in the bottle or the kid back in the crib, and that's what it's all about. True, I haven't accepted my own aging, but Brandon's aging is different, exciting, full of potential. Things may never be exactly as they were, but that doesn't mean they won't be good. And much of it, I'm sure, is gonna be great.
So this is one bit of change I think maybe I can embrace. I'll try.
Do cats discuss Kurt Vonnegut?