My firstborn is going to college in the fall. Away to college, that is. Eight hours away. It's hard to believe the day is almost here--that day that as parents you know is going to come, because it comes to everyone, but still, like dying, you don't really believe will ever happen to you.
So, some things are going to change. Our house will still be Trevor's home, but in a few months he will no longer spend the majority of his time here. He will have a home away from home, and whereas for over 18 years I have known just about every move he has made (even moreso than some parents by virtue of the fact that we homeschool our kids), starting this fall he will make most of his moves without me. I will no longer know when he wakes up, eats, practices the piano, or goes on a bike ride. He will lead a whole separate life in a whole different place and we his family will only be privy to what he feels motivated to share.
This is all as it should be, but still, it is hard. Next week Trevor will be giving his senior piano recital (you're all invited!). Last night after choir practice he and my husband (his piano teacher) stayed at church (where the recital will be) so that Trevor could play through his program on the grand piano there. Between the Chicago Open chess tournament this weekend and company coming and other stuff next week this was the last chance Phillip had to work with Trevor before the recital. Meanwhile, also yesterday, Trevor received a list of repertoire from his new piano teacher at UNL so that he can get started on it after his recital. (Aside: I got a kick out of the fact that one of his pieces is Chopin's Nocturne in D-flat, Op. 27, No. 2, which I also played my freshman year in college.)
Anyway, when Phillip and Trevor got home last night, my husband came in to the bedroom and observed, "I just gave Trevor the last piano lesson I'll ever give him." Mind you, my husband has been teaching our son piano since Trevor was 4.
I told him, "Oh, you'll give him some coaching on his new stuff this summer" to which Phillip answered, "Yeah, I know I'll still help him, but from now it will only be when he asks me."
I guess that's what it means to let your children grow up. As parents we are called to move from a mindset of constantly directing and helping to one in which we do so only when asked. For over 18 years my husband and I have been not only Trevor's primary caretakers but also his primary teachers. That's about to change, as he learns to take care of himself and as other people take over teaching him.
There are a lot of "lasts" in a parent-child relationship. The last diaper. The last jar of baby food. The last time you help with a bath. The last time you actually pick him up or tie his shoes for him or he sits on your lap in the rocking chair. Most of the time you don't realize it's going to be the last time. It just happens, and then it doesn't happen anymore. It's something of a gut-check moment when one of those "lasts" occurs and you are able to stop and say, "This is the last time."
I'm glad the last night in his bed as a high school student is still a few months away.