My oldest son, Jacob, goes to boarding school in New Hampshire, and this past weekend was Family Weekend at his school. This was our fourth and last Family Weekend as he is now a senior, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of awe, sadness, and gratitude. No other part of my life is a better reminder of the passage of time than my children. I am not one of those parents who is fighting to stop time. Instead, I revel in watching each child grow and change from a toddler with sticky hands to an independent child not stopping to wave bye as they step onto the bus to a snarky teen learning how to drive to a young adult who is most definitely smarter than I can ever hope to be. For four years, I have driven to campus and participated in Family Weekend. The first three years, Jacob came home with us after the football game on Saturday for a long weekend. This year, he chose to go home with his girlfriend so he could catch a concert in NYC. Yes, things have definitely changed. Nothing pinpointed that more than driving home from his school, alone.
His school has a tradition of chapel most mornings, and Family Weekend is no different. There was a reading this weekend by Dennis Lehane that resonated with me, and which I would like to share with you.
‘Happiness doesn’t lie in conspicuous consumption and the relentless amassing of useless junk. Happiness lies in the person sitting beside you and your ability to talk to them. Happiness is clear-headed human interaction and empathy. Happiness is home. And home is not a house – home is a mythological conceit. It is a state of mind. A place of communion and unconditional love. It is where, when you cross its threshold, you finally feel at peace.’
Perhaps the solitude in the car ride home didn’t bother me so much because I was filled with the joy only a parent can feel when their child or children are thriving. Instead of dwelling on the fact that his high school years are quickly coming to their final chapter, I can’t help but look forward to what awaits him, whatever it may be. That is my happiness.
That, and the fact that he remembered to text me to let me know he got back safely from the concert.
Wishing everyone an incredible week.