Updated: Apr 11, 2022
It feels so wrong and so right at the same time. Regardless of which fencepost I perch myself upon at any given moment, this I know: what I’m doing is necessary. Driving through six physical states is one thing, but the number of emotional states visited over the course of the week in question is incalculable.
For several months, we’ve been visited by countless delivery personnel at our front door: UPS, FedEx, and Amazon Prime. They’ve left boxes, big and small, in our entryway: shelving units, mattress pads, desk and closet organizers, toiletries, backpacks, shoes, and clothes. The time had come for my son to fly away from home, toward the exciting adventure awaiting him as he prepares to begin his college career at The University of Oklahoma.
We packed all his belongings into the back of a rented GMC Yukon. And when I say packed, I mean packed. Upon completion of said task, I certainly reigned victorious at the ultimate game of Tetris. It felt as though we were traveling to that distant and foreign territory shared by the name of our vehicle, as the gap between home and college stretched toward what felt like infinity. The transition, in a physical and logistical sense, was seamless. The emotional transition, not so much.
I remember my parents dropping me off at Penn State for the first time, so many years ago. I hugged them, gave them a kiss, turned around, and marched into my dorm building with independence, confidence, and excitement that I had never felt before in my life. When we dropped our own son off, I had to keep reminding myself of that moment in my past, and that it’s likely tougher on the parents than it is on the child during that emotional transition. At least that’s what I did as a form of emotional rationalization, so I could navigate the 1400 mile journey back home.
Back home. It’s such a simple thing to say but a much tougher thing to understand. The house isn’t the same without our son in it. We miss him every single day, and the goings-on of daily life are decidedly different. But…
Even in the first couple weeks, watching him grow, mature, and exercise his independence reminds me that an amazing adventure awaits him.
Stories have a way of coming back to deliver messages that were never imagined when first penned. I love that about writing. Claire Perkins ventured outside her comfort zone in Fly Away Home, embarking on a courageous adventure that resulted in a discovery of her truest self. No matter how or when we choose to take an intentional step away from the known and comfortable, it can be an uncertain and scary endeavor. But it can also be seen as a grand adventure waiting to unfurl.
Yes, our son has flown away from home, by traveling across six physical states to begin the next chapter of his life. But I’m certain he’s on a journey that will help lead him toward a different kind of home, the one inside that continues to grow and be nurtured by newfound experiences and relationships.
He has shown the same courage as Claire Perkins to fly away home. Now, as parents, we need to find the same courage to continue nudging him out of the nest, as we watch him spread his wings and take flight.
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