The boxes were all packed, the car was loaded and we were about to begin one of the most painful journeys of our lives. My wife and I were about to take our two oldest children to college and leave them over 1000 miles from home. That was the scene last week as we made our way from Vermont to South Carolina. Our daughter is a junior in college there and our son is a freshman at another college about an hour away.
On the one hand, the trip was an enjoyable experience as we shared happy memories from the past and talked about their hopes for the future. On the other hand, the trip grew harder by the mile as we realized we would soon be leaving two people whom we have loved since birth in a far away state. As we traveled, my son revealed that one of his favorite memories was playing legos with me when he was about 6 years old. I had been in a serious automobile accident and was bedridden for several weeks. My son would come each night and play legos, or army men, or practice his spelling words with me. For years that had been one of my own precious memories but I never knew it had meant so much to him. I was blessed as I drove down the road listening to him talk about those times together.
Two days later we squeezed all his stuff into a dorm room he would share with two other guys and wished him farewell. I did my best not to cry in front of his roommates, and did make it to the car before the tears began to roll freely. Less than 48 hours later we took my daughter's stuff to her dorm and managed to fit it all into another dorm room an hour away. Saying goodbye was just as hard, even though this was her third year of college. I confess I did not make it to the car before I cried after leaving her.
Our kids both choose good schools. They are well adjusted happy young adults. We will see them both again at Thanksgiving. They have bright and glorious futures ahead of them. Why did it hurt so much to leave them? It hurts because we love them so much and will miss their company each day.
As parents we have done what we can to teach our children to be responsible, mature, compassionate and spiritual young adults. But at some point, we must release our young adult children into the world and let them soar. That is what we did last week and though it was a painful moment of release, we know our children are safe in the arms of God and He will take them to new heights as they enter this new phase in their lives.
Katie and Taylor, never doubt that mommy and daddy love you!