A few days ago, I left my kid at college. For all intents and purposes, I am done.
I know, I know…I don’t mean that I am finished with him…he’ll always be my baby, and I will always be there for him, and there will be many ways that he will still need me – and his bed is still waiting.
For the last 18 ¾ years, we had a relationship where I was the one responsible for teaching him how to function in this world and how to learn. He learned how to read on my lap. I walked him through arithmetic and over humps through algebra. We learned about Paul Revere’s ride together, learned Latin vocabulary, and recreated the ecosystem of the Nile Delta.
That part is done. Learning is now the responsibility of others – and most of all, it is his responsibility.
How do I feel about that? Mostly happy. Fairly satisfied. Incredibly grateful to have had that with him. There have been times—sometimes years—that I have struggled in that role, but I am oh so thankful to have been there with him through all of it...the laughs, the learning, his passionate interests.
There are places I slacked off – I forgot to teach him to iron his clothes (but in truth, he may have only seen me iron anything once or twice in his lifetime). And before I dropped him off, I was going to show him how to polish his dress shoes – but hey, I’m sure that’s on YouTube. As a homeschooler, one of my biggest comforts was the memory that my school teachers never finished the textbooks either…and somehow, I managed.
He’s not without scars, either. There have been times that I’ve been hurtful – sometimes I was just being stupid. The family is not without the effects of sin, and I certainly am not. I feel it permeate my bones. We hurt each other. I do hope he knows how so very deeply he is loved.
I’m proud of him. He’s a good man. He has a strong faith in Christ, a good mind, and an honest heart. That’s all by the grace of God. I am humbled by how incapable I am of having ownership in that. We did raise him in Christ, we did try to give him a good education, and we did try to teach him right from wrong. But somehow, he seems so much more than those simple daily efforts.
So I am honored…and happy. I leave him in the hands of his school and look forward to getting him back for Christmas. I’ll miss having him around all the time, I’ll miss the way he makes me laugh like no one else can. I’ll miss his daily spontaneous insights. But he is ready. I know he’s ready. And so I guess that means my work -- this work that has been mine for as long as I have known him --is done.