Monday, August 17, 2009

off we go

it's a strange and sad and beautiful and joyful thing to launch my daughter into the world of college and young adulthood. i am remembering having the same experience with my son three years ago; i wanted him to be safe, to be happy, to adjust, to make friends, to settle in, to do well, to feel good, to find his way. i also knew that part of that process is in the bumps and bruises that will show up. they do. that's part of it. i know that, too, about myself, and my own continued launches into the next thing i'm to learn or to experience, the next lesson, the next joy, the next bump, the next loss, the next awareness, the next misstep, the next epiphany. i thought at some point i'd acquire some level of "there-ness." as in, okay, i'm there. but that's a foolish thought. it's not the truth. it's not real. even though i know there's a part of me - and all of us, i think - that seeks that sense of having figured at least SOMETHING out.
here's the beauty: when i stop and breathe and relax, i realize that i have figured many many many things out. i've accepted a lot. i know how to do some things. i even know sometimes when to rest in something and feel confident and peaceful. and yet - i still want to learn. to grow. to lose some things and to gain some things. it doesn't stop. nor should it. the road goes ever on and on. and that's good.
so, that helps me as i watched my daughter meeting her new roommate, and settling into her dorm, and meeting her R.A., and walking around the campus, and becoming a Pirate. it felt ... right. it felt good. it's time.
that doesn't mean there's not huge sadness in my heart, because of course there is, just as when my son left for school, just as when i let one thing go in order to become something else. but it's not loss; it's a passing; and it's good; and it's time; and whatever comes will be part of her path, and my path.

and, too, it's fun. as my wife and daughter and i were hanging out yesterday afternoon in her now-decorated-and-moved-into dorm room, the suitemates next door came in and asked our daughter, "Do you want to come hang out with us?" and she said, "Okay, y'all can go. I'm going to go hang out with the girls." and it was a good launching. we weren't just launching her; she was launching us.

off we go!

6 comments:

nonprofitprophet said...

yep. no failure to launch in any of your kids. good job parenting my bf. ~npp

Laurel said...

Nicely put and yes it's a passing....I am often reminded in stories of entering young adulthood, the Cat Steven's song, On the Road to Find Out. I once had a friend who told me how her father played her that song on the evening before she left for college, when she went from Oxford Miss. to Tulane University in New Orleans. From her story, that song became one of my absolute favorites; and, I used to play it when I was a teacher to my graduating seniors on the last day of classes. That was my way of saying goodbye for them and myself.

One thing I've discovered through story and observation is that once out of his or her own, the child or even the parent for that matter, falls in love with their family all over again in all new and magnificent ways.

David said...

Rick--thank you for sharing your experiences and struggles with us all as you do here. I needed to read this story of your today, as I prepare to set my baby girl loose in the Kindergarten world. I know it's not college, but it feels way bigger than I expected.

I hope I can become as good a parent as you guys are, and do what is best for my girl in love, instead of doing what fear calls for.

Blessings to you all!

journeyingrick said...

David - yes, the leap to Kindergarten is another important passage, and a big one, so don't worry that there's a lot of emotion tied to it. it's real.

the secret to good parenting? 3 things that I know of:

1. love 'em no matter what and remember that they are beloved children of God and treat them with that kind of respect and honor and strength and truth.

...i can't remember the other 2.

Laura Kelley Jenkins said...

I really loved this. Just yesterday I was reading in "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beattie, where she talks about valuing this moment.

"This moment, we are right where we need to be, right where we are meant to be. How often we waste our time and energy wishing we were someone else, were doing something else, or were someplace else. We needlessly confuse ourselves and divert our energy by thinking that our present moment is a mistake."

That really resonated with me. I was thinking this morning that I relentlessly chase myself into the next moment, hour, day, month. I rarely let myself "be" where I am. I think this is very toxic to the soul, and fundamentally screws with our lives. Beattie says,

"Come back home to yourself. Come back home to the present moment."

Wow - that could be my only goal for an entire year - no, a lifetime. I want to make that a daily goal: stop trying to control each moment, and learn to experience and accept them.

I am reminded of a Mutts cartoon I once saw: What time is it? Right now.

journeyingrick said...

AMEN, AMEN, AMEN, AMEN, AMEN.

i am absolutely convinced - and i even know it deep down, when i remember - that this moment is all there is, and it is more than sufficient, and attachment beyond is what makes us sick. amen amen amen.