No, it’s not the title of a new soap opera.  Just some thoughts on the inevitable change all parents go through.

I had a "first" for Father’s Day this year; the first time one of my kids called me for Father’s Day instead of being here for it.  She’s working at summer camp in this time between high school and college, so we’re getting a bit of a trial run of the whole "away at college" thing. 

I remember when I went off to college and my parents wanted me to keep in touch.  No cell phones then, never mind having free nationwide long distance, and they knew how often I wrote letters (almost never), so they gave me a tape recorder and asked me to keep in touch that way.  They knew their son well.  The recorded "letters" started out pretty sedate, but wound up like a radio show with its own theme music, and the tape recorder (about the size of a large paperback book) went with me all over the place and caught some very interesting moments. 

At first, I found the chronicling of my college life for them rather tedious.  When I made it fun for me, then it happened more often, but still; hey, I’m at college and I’m OK, so what’s the big deal about keeping in touch?

Now I know. 

When we’d all come home for Christmas or Spring Break or a week in the summer, my dad would get all dramatic on us.  "Isn’t it great to have the whole gang together again" and/or "How many more times will we be able to do this" would come up now and then.  Early on, I didn’t quite connect with the sentiment.

Now I know.

So now it’s my nest that starts emptying.  Since I was the oldest in my family, I never felt what it was like to have less than the full compliment around the dinner table, so this is going to be new for me, and not just because I’m the dad now.  Family dynamics will change, I’m sure, and actually I’ll be interested to see how.  But after all these years in pretty much the same situation year to year, what’s "normal" is now changing.  This is the new "normal", and there ain’t no going back.

Yeah, I’m a little melancholy at the prospect, but hey, it’s time for a change, and I’m excited to see what’s coming.

Filed under: Life

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