For almost a year now I have been living as if I am dying. Not because I am dying but because I am surrounded by a series of lasts as our oldest son prepares to leave for college.

Just before last summer I became aware of the fact that our son would be leaving us. I suppose I knew it all along but it became real as our lives were flooded with college visits, applications and test scores. As he finishes his search this week that has taken him from California to Boston and all points in between it has seemed at times I am left with the remainder of a long lists of ‘lasts’ as he prepares to leave Monona.

Last fall was the last time he would celebrate his birthday with us at home. Next November he would be in a dorm somewhere with his friends, most likely.

The holiday season was the last that would not include the rush of travel, a bus or train for him to catch or us to meet–possibly a flight if he went far away.

During the heavy snow of January and February I realized it was the last winter I could call through the house for him to shovel for me. Time to buy that snowblower I have been putting off. Spring has brought a series of lasts as he finishes his time at Monona Grove High School.

This summer we will know the last of the lasts. Our last time gathered together to watch the Memorial Day Parade together. The last Fourth of July Celebration with all of us together? A last swim–even though the pool is not our son’s passion. What if he stays at school next summer? Is the yearly trip we take as a family in August our last together? Will he be somewhere else doing something else during that time? Can we even fit the trip in with the move to college now part of our backdrop?

But in the end college is not death. It is a birth of sorts. I remember it well as the time my ‘real’ life began. So in the midst of all the lasts and leaving that have managed to tug at me this year there have been hints of the things to come. A time of excitement and celebration. A new life for our son in a different place. It just won’t be happening here in Monona anymore–or with us.

Filed under: ReflectionsTom's Posts

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