My eldest son flew off to Australia yesterday and it’s not clear how long he’s going to be away for. Even though we knew it was coming, his departure date seemed to suddenly creep upon us without any warning.
As we said our goodbyes as the coach station, I could feel one door closing and another one opening. A chapter of our lives had just ended and a new one begun. It was one of those moments that was almost unbearably uncomfortable and painful but at the same time it was accompanied by a feeling of great inevitability and the knowledge that life was showing us all the way towards greater growth and understanding.
My heart ached and I knew that my son was happy and excited and so I stood there and watched him go. And when we got home I went to my room and cried even more.
Over the past 24 hours so many thoughts have gone through my head and I have received many valuable insights surrounding the whole issue of fledglings spreading their wings and leaving the nest.
But one of the biggest moments came when I thought of how it was when I packed up and left home to move to Germany many moons ago.
My Dad encouraged me and helped me to get things ready. I never once saw a look of disapproval on his face. Nor did I hear any remarks that might have made me hesitate and feel guilty. I was supported all the way. No tears, only words of encouragement. And I was seen off at the coach station. I was the one who cried and got very emotional. In return I got smiles and hugs.
And off I went.
I now know how my Dad must have felt inside. It must have been gut-wrenching for him to say goodbye to the last of his three children, especially as I was going abroad. It turned out to be for 18 years with me returning just after he died.
And yet he never let me know how he felt inside. This let me go in peace. It enabled me to take the next step and venture out into my life.
I’m walking now in my Dad’s moccasins and seeing now how much he really loved me. I love my son for giving me this opportunity. And I love my Dad for his gift to me.