On Friday August 5, 2022 we did what millions of parents have done. We got in the car without our 18-year old son and drove away, leaving him to begin the next chapter of his life in his own apartment in another state as a college student.
The day came.
I’ve thought about this day for 18 years. I knew it would happen. I anticipated it. I prepared for it.
I underestimated it.
I underestimated how hard it would be to get in the car. I underestimated what it would feel like to not see his truck in the driveway. I underestimated how it would feel to see a previous online grocery order with his favorites items and not need to buy them. I underestimated how different it would be without him in the house.
I cognitively know that that we have much to not grieve about this transition. We are in a position to provide this opportunity for him. We have a close relationship that makes the transition difficult. He is brave enough to go on this adventure. He is alive. Through my tears, I do the mental gymnastics…He’s happy. He’s excited. He’s ready. He’s doing what he loves. He’s going to find his people. He’s going to have great experiences. He’s…He’s…He’s….
Yet, the grief is real.
Through this emotional pain, I reflect on the reality that of the 365 days each year, one of them is going to be the anniversary of an expected (or unexpected) milestone. For the past 18 times August 5th occurred, I didn’t know it would become the day we said left our son 1,000 miles from home.
The day always comes…good or bad.
The day you fell in love. Your wedding day. The day your child is born. First day of school. Graduation day. First day of a new job. The day you retire. The day you move to a new city. The day your spouse dies.
Psalms 118:24 has a new meaning to me as I work through the emotions of this transition. “This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it.” I used to think this meant to “put on a happy face” and pretend all is OK. However, according to HELPS-Word Studies, rejoice (χαίρω, charió, Khah’-ee-ro) translated from Greek, means to experience and be glad for God’s grace.
The day always comes. Rejoice, but it’s OK to cry.