Life is like a book, and we’re all starting new chapters all the time. Chapters in life overlap one another, beginning and ending in messy disorderly ways. And in a family, as one member starts something new, there can be an impact across the entire household which is unique for each individual. And…. there are so many wonderful ways to start new chapters in a family!
But, there are no babies here any more. The photo above, and the baby in it, will be six years old this coming Wednesday. Today, a different chapter ended, and another began. Today, David….the firstborn (above, loving the sixth born) headed off to college. So we’ve made that fateful transition out of the “Adding Offspring” phase, and we’re beginning the phase in which we launch offspring into the fearful world of expensive education, where there are giants and ogres and financial aid fairies.
He’s in the car with my husband as I write. They’re driving across Oregon, heading out to a big fat adventure all his own, six hours from home.
I am so delighted that he has this opportunity.
He’s been educated at home all his life, and he’s so fired up to get into classrooms full of students, with professors who have all kinds of new funky ideas. And he’s going to have so much fun in an age-segregated community with a diverse bunch of people and no parents around. I already know he’s got friends there who play frisbee after bed-time on a school night, probably in the rain without warm jackets or even clean socks. All kinds of exotic diversions.
There’s all this stuff we militantly held him away from for such a long time, and now the gate is open and he’s heading out to gorge on it for awhile. He’s going to have the time of his life! And I’m so happy to see this kind, compassionate, motivated, interesting, entertaining and diligent man as he heads out into the world. He’s just awesome.
His five sibs are home here today, somewhat snowed in. They’re all sad about his departure, and it’s been extra sweet here, with everybody remembering David tenderly and looking ahead to his return for spring break. And they’re all making a heroic effort to be extra kind to one another….. and my heart is warmed by them. All these years of keeping six kids under my roof, one of my top priorities was that they love one another and treat each other with respect. This was the one aspect of family life that kept me swinging from the chandelier ranting “Be Gracious To One Another, Or I Will Alter Your Face….”
Many days I was discouraged because they seemed not to be getting that concept at all.
But now that one of them has been removed, and the others have to reorient themselves without him, it is beautiful to see how much they really really do love him and each other, and how proud and pleased they are to see their fearless leader as he heads off to make his way in this big world.
It’s going to be exciting to see how the departure of the kid on top will open up new avenues of growth for the kids who have been thriving in his shadow. Things will be different around here, and I’m watching with all my senses tuned in to see how it all develops.
I never anticipated this day with any kind of longing. I loved having David around! But now that it’s here and he’s gone, it’s just the right thing.
What an outrageous privilege it is to live in a time and in a place where we can dream big dreams for our kids and really see them happen. I am so thankful!