Monday, September 6, 2010

Fly Away, Little Birds

As parents, one of the cruel truths is that the strongest evidence of our having done our jobs well is the ability for our children to successfully leave us. That 50/50 proud/pain moment of watching your young child march off with lunchbox in hand into pre-school is just the beginning of what turns into a lifetime of proud/pain moments as your child ventures forth into an independent life.

My two oldest and best friends are both watching with pride and anguish as their grown birds fly off. One was the first of any of my acquaintances to have a child, and so I have always paid keen attention to the milestones of her eldest as markers to which I’ll look forward. Even though her daughter is adult and grown, her move across country today for a wonderful new opportunity is wrenching to my friend.

Now my eldest is talking of his intention to move to a distant city, off on his own. I have cheered for him, looked forward to the time when he would feel confident enough to make this move, yet found my heart sinking when he told me his plans yesterday. It’s not as if I see very much of him; between my frequent travel, the fact that he lives independently in a separate apartment, and our very different lives and schedules, we don't spend much time together. But knowing of his proximity to my home has been comforting both of us, and now he is about to fly.

On this Labor Day I have no school supplies to buy, no planning of lunches for the week, but am experiencing a different kind of September excitement and wistfulness, watching these grown and capable children leave, off to feather their own nests, so to speak.

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