By Claude Tate
Life is full of milestones. And for parents, the most important milestones are those that involve our children. A friend of ours recently sent us a video that brought back memories of one of those parental milestones for my wife and me. Our son had graduated from high school and gone off to college. After graduation he moved to a nearby town and found a job. Yet, it never felt like he had left home. His room was still there, we saw him often, and when he had a problem, we were close enough to help. But then he announced both he and his girlfriend were quitting their jobs and moving to Nashville, TN. He had visited Nashville a few years before with a friend, but neither of them knew anyone there or had any job prospects. They had found a house to rent, but that was it. He had sensed the same thing that we had. He was not really “living” at home, but had not left home either. He needed to truly be on his own. Even if he wanted to, in Nashville he would not be able to call on me to solve his every problem. My wife and I were worried, but we told ourselves we must trust his judgment. So we and his girlfriend’s parents helped them move. After helping them move in, we ate lunch at a nearby restaurant and said our good-byes. It was then that it hit my wife and me. A major chapter in our lives was closing. Our son was leaving home. We were happy for him as his excitement was obvious, but we were also sad to see him go. We had prepared him for this moment all his life. He was ready. But we had not prepared ourselves.
If you’ve never had a child leave home, you may see something entirely different in the video clip I’ve included in this post. And even if you had, you may still see something different. But my wife and I loved it and I hope you will at least find it enjoyable.
Postscript. Things were not easy at first, but he eventually found a job and his girlfriend found part-time work. After several months in Nashville, they moved to Murfreesboro where his girlfriend went to graduate school. He continued to work in Nashville for a short period, then found a job with Middle Tennessee State. The Nashville area really is a great place for young people and they loved it. But my wife and I continued to remind my son that Asheville rhymed with Nashville and was a pretty cool place too. They were married, she finished school, and the “Tennessee Tates” (their name for themselves at the time) moved back to NC. They settled first in Asheville and now live in Hendersonville. Much like the little robins in the video, our son and his wife proved they were ready to fly. And also much like the mother and father robins, it took a little time for us to fully accept that we had done our job and our nest was empty.