I was not a father until he existed. He was born five and a half weeks early 18 years ago. We had signed up to take a one-day lamaze class, but the class was on Saturday. He was born two days before that. We weren’t ready for him yet. The crib wasn’t set up. We hadn’t bought the stuff he needed (diapers, etc). And yet he came. He was supposed to be born a month after my college graduation, but he came a week before. We were not ready.
That phrase was so true then, and it’s true now as well. We aren’t ready for him to leave. I think back on the last 18 years, and he has always been there. Playing with his legos. Making a mess. Asking questions. Playing on the computer. Eating all the food. Being weird. Playing with his sisters. Building snowmen. Being stubborn. Being a boy.
And now he’s about to go off to college. I know he’s coming home at Christmas. I know he’s coming home next summer. But it won’t be the same. For the next four months, he won’t be here. He’s going to start meeting a whole bunch of people and having a whole bunch of experiences that I won’t be a part of. I’m happy for him. But I will miss him. We will say goodbye to him next Sunday, and leave him behind.
And we’re not ready.