We’re headed to Greensboro today to buy a suit for our son. His prom is next weekend, and he’s going, and I guess the kids don’t rent tuxedos these days? I don’t know, I’m just along for the ride.
Weekend after next, our son graduates high school. Twelve weeks after that, we’ll pack him up and drive him to college. A few months ago, I wrote about our visit to UVA. It turns out that was his top choice for colleges, and after a long and stressful wait, on March 18, he got his acceptance letter into the School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he will study computer science. I might have squealed. When I hugged him, I could feel him shaking. He wanted this very badly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything. He worked hard in high school for good grades and high scores. His voice shook when he told us he was in, and his whole body trembled in thrill and relief. He fell back onto his back on his bed and smiled.
He won’t be able to take a car his first year, which means he’ll be two and a half hours away with no means of getting home. He’s excited about this. He hates long car rides anyway, and told us not to be offended, but he didn’t expect to be coming home a lot anyway. He wants to go off and become himself. I want that for him, too. But I also want to hang out with him and hear about school and his classes and what books he’s reading and who his friends are and what his roommate is like and what does he think of it all? Does he like it?
Meanwhile, our daughter got her drivers license on Monday. She takes herself to school and swim practice now. No more bubble tea runs together after practice on Thursdays. No more early morning “Can we go to Starbucks? Can we go to Panera?” on the way to school from the pool. We did ride together last night to get takeout, and she comes home between all her activities, which I wasn’t sure would happen. But, in two years, she will graduate and leave too. After 18 years of our kids in the house, suddenly they’re going to be gone.
I feel many feelings. I feel joy and pride. I feel sadness and loss. I feel hope and excitement for their futures, and who they are, and who they become. I feel nostalgia for their soft round cheeks and sweet toddler voices. I feel all the contrasting emotions, and it feels deep and right. This is the stuff of life.