"LIFE IN A WORD"
The Word is Transition
Definition: Merriam-Webster Dictionary: a period or phase in which a change or shift is happening
As we enter the month of September, I thought it fitting to talk about the transition that occurs when high school seniors become college freshmen. For parents, it is a particularly hard transition that yields many emotions, concerns, and questions. “Where did the years go?” usually tops the list.
My Story on Transition
I was texting with a friend last week about her son, who was heading off to college. Her words triggered my memory of the day I took my son to college.
Our drive down was uneventful. Few words were exchanged between us. Perhaps we were all lost in our thoughts. My thoughts centered on holding things together. To be clear, I promised myself not to cry in front of my son, even though tears would most likely well up in my eyes from time to time.
Upon our arrival, ROTC students greeted us and with warp speed delivered my son's belongings to his dorm room. I soldiered on as we unpacked and set up his room. We then walked around campus, stopped for lunch, and went to the bookstore to buy a few sweatshirts bearing the college logo. We had stalled long enough and now it was time to leave our son and go back home. Fully intent on keeping it together, we said our goodbyes at the elevator on his dorm room floor. Walking the distance to the car for our goodbye hug would have proven much more challenging. The drive home was mostly quiet. I suppose we were lost in thought then too.
Once back home, this soldier of strength, this pillar of self-control melted like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. As I stood outside my son’s bedroom door, it hit me. His room was now void of all his personal items and, more conspicuously it was void of him. His car was still in front of the house (I could see it through his bedroom window), but his keys were now in my pocket. That was the moment I completely lost it and sobbed for what must have been a good half hour. I took full advantage of this alone time. I found it to be profoundly cleansing. That was the word that filled my head when I finally composed myself. Do I continue to miss my son? Of course, I do. Now a married man and a parent himself I still miss the connections that come with living under the same roof.
Transition is difficult. But, as the saying goes, a parent gives their children wings to fly away and set their own course in life. We should all take comfort in knowing that transitions are natural and survivable. And lest we forget, those same wings that take them away from us are equally capable of bringing them back home and often do.
If you are experiencing a transition in your life and need some help reconciling it with yourself, it might be time to talk to a Life Coach. I hope you’ll reach out to me. I offer a free one-hour consultation to get us started. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your appointment. Feel free to have a tissue on hand.