In the most awkward fashion, I embraced a dad named Chris in the liquor aisle of Costco yesterday.
Many years had passed since our families belonged to the local Elks Lodge, where our kiddos swam regularly during summer. If it’s any indication of how much time had passed, Charlotte was potty training at the time, and pretty much looked like this picture daily.
As we stood there catching up, a memory that I had stored away long ago, bubbled up. A wee one, maybe 18 months old, toddled over to the pool’s edge, and decided to take the plunge - pay no mind that she did not know how to swim. Chris and some other dads were cooling off in the shallow end of the pool chatting, as in and under she went, without making a sound. Reflexively, one of the dads pulled the little girl up by her leg, without even spilling his beverage. Thank God for those daddies, the village, Chris being one of them.
Back in the beer aisle, Chris explained that his oldest daughter was considering moving (ALL THE WAY) across the country for college. He seemed lost in thought, looking off into the distance, like he was seriously considering, “How did this happen so fast?”
If Chris and I had been at church, I would have lit two candles - one for him and one for me. Because when all you’re left holding is a box full of their childhood books, while they just walk out the door , and start the next chapter of their lives without you, it feels a bit unsettling.
Of course, as parents, it’s what we hope for. But also, no one really tells you the part that raising people is a masterclass of holding both joy for our children and grief over what will no longer be.
May these children be caught by good, good people when they decide to jump into the pool without knowing how to swim. May we trust that these babies will be taken care of by something Bigger than us. May these kids be blessed.
This moment brought to you by YOU: good job helping RAISE people who are leaving.