My son left for university last week. It was very emotional on so many levels, representing the closing of one chapter of life and the beginning of another. After he left with his mum, he sent me a note. I will not quote it verbatim, but essentially Ben thanked me being there and giving him everything he could have asked for throughout the entire time we have known each other, and for taking on my role with him wholeheartedly. “You’re a great guy,” he said “and you will always be a welcome face in my life, whatever my role may become in the future.”
I know in my heart of hearts that I have given parenthood everything I have, but I was very touched to read these words. Brief, but so very poignant and powerful. And then I wept. But these were tears of joy, hope, and accomplishment for a change.
But the truth is, I feel like the lucky one to have had him in my life for the past nine years. It has forced me to dig really deep–emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. Difficult and frustrating at times, to be sure, but he has helped me push beyond where I never thought I could go. Bringing me face to face with all sorts of issues. Raising him has forced me to try to filter out all the crap, and pass on only the good stuff. Ben has brought life and richness and insight to my life that I could not ever have imagined. I haven’t always had all the tools, but I know I have done the very best I can, and I always have done what is in his best interest.
I think about what an exciting time this is for him. The wind is at his back. His life is a big empty canvas laid out in front of him, his to create whatever he chooses. At times, I have felt that there might not be much room left on my own canvas, but he reminds me that that is not so–it is a state of mind and heart that I have created through the accumulation of all kinds of psychological debris and emotionally clogged filters.
And although he may not see it, I can see so clearly that he has what it takes to take on anything he wants. He is very advanced for his young years, grappling and mastering life concepts and skills that I am only starting to glimpse. He is a very good, mature, and wise soul.
And despite other difficult areas of my life that I am struggling with, when it comes to Ben, I am so proud of who he has become. And I am so very proud to have had the opportunity to have played a role in that.
I will close with a song he introduced me to just before he left: Wake Me Up by Avicci. A coming of age song that will always remind me of him.
Good luck as you make your way out into the world, Bennie and the Jets. Know that I will always be here when you need me, and that I will always be with you.
People come into our lives for reasons (this I hold to be true) as we are all souls having a human experience. How enriched your life is through knowing Ben and yes, he will do great things (seems he already has). Now it’s time for you to look at your canvas and add some new colors 🙂
(in America, it’s Ramen noodles as the college staple 😉
Lynne (free penny press)
Thank you Lynne. Time to add some colour indeed.
This post is so moving. Ben’s note to you is a testament to the beautiful relationship the two of you have fostered. Lovely!
Thank you Jill.
Very touching post Jonathan. And what a loving note from Ben. 🙂 Thanks for sharing…♥♥♥NadineMarie♥♥♥
Thank you Nadine Marie….
Great post reflecting the deep emotions on sending a child out into the world.
Thank you Elizabeth.
I agree that Frank’s is an essential of life! Thank you for this touching post, reminding me of how I feel about my eldest off in college, and how I’m not overly pushy about getting the 21-year old younger son to move out. Sigh. It is coming though and your writing here pulled my heartstrings. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Gina. Lots of heartstring tugging going on!
Your post and song was beautiful….I to would love to share my own experience as a single father with my 2 sons, one 23 and one 20. It will stir your heart I hope as you have stirred mine
Thank you Jerry…please do.
A Seal and a Wall Street investment Banker
I am blessed with two wonderful, charismatic, generous, intelligent, athletic, compassionate, funny, warm, and very, good looking boys, now men. They were both gifted athletically, and the one thing I know I did right in this life is raise my sons, ( and their Mom, we are divorced but took the high road with our sons.) with values and to never ever treat anybody viewed as ” less” than them for any reason with anything but respect. In fact to go out of their way and make the bullied kid feel good.
Austin was always picked first at pick up football and I always noticed Avi, a big overweight, gawky kid standing last, hoping to be picked at all.
I always told Austin and Kyle , when in these
situations, like pick up football, to take the kid who never gets picked.
Austin always picked Avi, and caught crap from the other boys, but Austin was a leader, and their friendship continued through High School, In HS, having a buddy like Avi was not cool as a wing man to pick up girls at parties. , etc, etc…However Avi ,, to his credit, played 3 sports, football, wrestling and track, ( they cut nobody from the team in High School ) as did Austin. Avi was big and overweight, and clumsy, but persevered, and even in his senior year rarely played.
Avi was also brilliant, and I used to tell Austin that your buddy Avi will one day be telling people what to do when he owns his own company.
Eight years later Austin graduated Indiana University and shocked us all by telling us that he ” self tested ” into the Navy Seals. He is currently in their training program. During his first 3 months in Basic Boot Camp before starting Pre- Navy Seal training, no communication was allowed except one phone call and Austin told me that person is Avi,. This meant Austin trusted no one else in the world to tell him what was happening . He would rather talk to than Avi,to update him and tell him what’s going on and just be the connect guy for Austin for that sacred few minutes away from
B U D S ( basic underwater demolition services ) for Avi’s perspective, humor and love.and support.
Avi meanwhile, lost 100 lbs, graduated Valedictorian at the University of Texas in International Business, and currently works on Wall St as an investment banker. He also dates most any women he desires, and is kind, giving and a great guy.
Parents have to teach their kids not to allow bullying, and the kids surprise you by standing up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves. thx