In the first five weeks of summer vacation my oldest son Oscar has been out and about–and that’s putting it mildly. On the cusp of his ninth birthday, he is out more than he’s in–going to friends’ houses, to science workshops that are completely out of my league, and on overnight excursions to New York City. And tomorrow he is going to the Jazz Festival for the day.
He has a good life and is fiercely independent. And I truly do encourage his independence–even arrange for it.
I understand our children are not ours, that they are on loan, so to speak; and that the process of letting go starts from the moment they are placed in our arms. Oscar has moved from a cradle two inches from my side of the bed to a crib across the hall to a bunk bed on the other side of the house. He went from being with me all day every day to going to daycare, to preschool, to Kindergarten and beyond. He started his tour of our neighborhood strapped to me, then in a stroller, then on two feet, and now just finished his first job where he proved he can negotiate our streets just fine. He was once read to; now he disappears outside with his novel of choice. He was once fed from a spoon and now can cook for himself.
He has become a young man–exactly as he should–and one whose company I thoroughly enjoy.
And yet I see him less and less.
One of the many ironies of parenthood, I suppose . . .
Usually I enjoy a good dose of irony. But not this time. Not at all.