I have heard it said that raising a child is like making a conscious choice to voluntarily take your heart from out of your chest and allow it to run carelessly and willy-nilly throughout the cosmos with reckless abandon. It is the visceral equivalent of giving consciousness to a part of yourself that is henceforth going to provide you with a thrill-ride that runs the gambit from the highest heights of victory, joy, gladness, pride, pleasure, and delight to the deepest depths of loss, despair, sadness, disappointment, irritation, antagonism and anger.
One would think that in His divine interpretation of “the order of things” that something as practical and necessary as procreation would necessitate something of a more informed reference to order and predictability, but no. Rather it is as if the decisions made that fateful day in the garden are to be born out and revisited upon us as a species ad infinitum… and the price we pay for eating of the tree of wisdom and knowledge is to watch helplessly and without recourse as our progeny careen through their (and our) existence making decisions and behaving in ways that we can predictably see might have some less than optimal and most unintended outcomes. But no…what do we know?
Recently, our first born – our son completed his high school journey and moved on to begin the next round of his discovery at Ohio University. It causes me to think back on when I left my home and began my journey, coincidentally at that some center of higher learning. I remember being there and all of the many wonderful and terrible activities in which I engaged and all the while never really considering my parents. Those were not the days of cell phones, texting, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. I went for months on end, maybe even longer never reaching out to my folks. Worse, I never even really considered how they might feel as their home became emptied of those they gave birth and life to. Now, if I do not get an instant response to a text or a “like” to a post that may include him, I may be subject to a period of downheartedness or even malaise. How much the tables have turned…
On the day we took our son to school and finally hugged him and left him standing there at the back of his new home for that academic year – as I drove away and watched him in my rear view mirror till I could see him no more, I realized that it was tears and not distance that clouded my view. It was as if I had made a conscious choice to voluntarily take my heart from out of my chest and allow it to run carelessly and willy-nilly throughout the cosmos with reckless abandon. I can only tell you that I was not prepared for it.