As I wrote earlier today, twenty-seven years ago I got married. Seventeen years ago (and a little) our daughter was born. As this is being posted, she is leaving the nest and is moving out on her own at UC Berkeley. It’s a bittersweet moment: we’re so proud and happy to see her moving off on her own, yet sad to know that we won’t be seeing her every day.
In her naming ceremony, we said:
Your existence is your possession, not ours. Out of our love and concern we intrude in your life for a little while, to help you live and grow. It is our hope and our prayer that we will know when that time is done. For then, with grace and respect, we must return to you what has been ours, only in trust, that which has always rightfully yours: yourself.
Today is one of those days. As she moves off on her own to begin to navigate dormitory life and college, we have every confidence that she will do great and make wonderful decisions. College is a time of learning, but it is more importantly a time of personal growth. Learning to be independent, learning to build a diverse set of friends and experiences, being exposed to diverse ideas and determine those that resonate with here — this is just part of the college experience.
We will return home to a quiet house, with lots of cleaning to do. The house will not be filled with the sound of movies on the TV (especially A Bugs Life or 9 to 5). It won’t be filled with the smell of Bananas Foster or whatever she is cooking in the kitchen (leaving the dishes for dad to clean up). We’ll have two cars again. Life will be quieter, but it won’t be quiet as fun as part of our hearts will be in the Berkeley hills.