Sunday, August 26, 2007

Now's the time~

In two days we'll be driving David to college. Not far, an hour and a half away, and an easy trip over major roads. I know from experience that he'll be fine, and have fun, and grow older and wiser. And that I'll miss having him around.

He and his girlfriend Jen are in the "family room," packing his clothes and other belongings in plastic footlockers. They both look grim-- or maybe just solemn-- but determined. They've had a fun-filled summer, between jobs, and have put off thinking about going away until they can't ignore it any longer.

Dave and Jen have been together since 5-5-05, an "anniversary" they've celebrated twice. College will separate them for the first significant amount of time since then. They're walking through the throes of missing each other in advance.

At eighteen, who knows? They could have already found their life partner. Maybe absence will make their hearts grow fonder. Or maybe it will be out of sight out of mind, although I don't think so with these two who now are chatting and laughing as they take posters off Dave's bedroom walls, rolling and packing them for a new wall.

But this is about now. The future will unfold as a series of nows. Now is all they have-- all any of us have-- just this moment.

They don't need or want platitudes or clich├ęs. They don't need to hear:

"We all went through it."

Or, "This will test your love."

"You're still so young," or, "If it is meant to be . . ."

And especially not, "There are too many fish in the sea . . ." my mother's personal favorite when she thought I should date others.

So I'll leave it to Dave and Jen to live their lives day by day, to feel their own pleasure and pain, make the choices that feel right for them, and to learn as they go. They don't know yet how young and inexperienced they are. Or that some day their college memories will be a foggy collage of experiences they will think of only occasionally.

But that's beside the point, because this is now.

For a look at walking through the empty nest period, read: Night,Dave~ and Last time~


leslie said...

Hi Ruth, it sounds like they're being very mature about going away to college. That's a good sign that their love just might last the separation. Best of luck to your son, especially, as he embarks on this new adventure.rry

Pauline said...

I always think of Laura Ingalls Wilder's lines - "Now is now. It can never be a long time ago."

It sounds as though you are wise enough to let those two find their own way. It's hard to know they might get hurt, though, isn't it? I always feel I can bear my own heartbreaks better than I can those of my children...

Dave said...

Another turn in the path of life. The now that will become a yesterday and a lesson learned. It is always a welcome moment when we experience growth and continued moments. Thanks for sharing yours.

rain said...

As I get ready to send my youngest off to Grade One, I know this time is just around the corner. I can feel it coming already. So bittersweet as they grow up...

Ruth D~ said...

Leslie~ In many ways, they are mature. And it isn't even their relationship that I worry about. Dave is so untested in many ways. But then, that's where we all start, isn't it?

Pauline~ I would have changed places in a heartbeat if it would have saved my kids from pain. Good thing I couldn't. Instead I repeat my mantra,"This will make them stronger."

Dave~ I'm definitely learning, from previous mistakes and experience. I guess that's why I need to write these things down. It makes it stick.

Rain~ Your youngest will be in college in no time! But that may not be what you want to hear. :>) There's a lot that happens in between though. I'm ready to let go of the reins . . . or at least not grip them so tightly.

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Janice Thomson said...

How wise of you to understand and apply the now in daily life instead of just spouting it like some. It's tough letting go but you face it with a love that is so much more than platitudes. Wishing David the best in the years to come - and you as well. Beautiful post Ruth.

Barbara said...

They look incredibly happy. I can't imagine being that much in love at such a young age. I wonder if they will ultimately end up together? I suppose all that really matters is NOW.

leslie said...

Hi again, have you checked out Lone Grey Squirrel's site - he's posted a lovely poem about letting go.

Ruth D~ said...

Janice~ Thank you!

Barbara~ I have no doubt they are in love. Whether it lasts is another story. Love can be both fragile and fierce.

Leslie~ I'll check that out. Today was "drop him off" day, so I could use a poem like that.

Sarah Z said...


This is a sweet piece, and I followed your link back to "Night, Dave," which just completely broke me up. Beautiful.

After a couple of years of reading to himself at bedtime, my 7-year-old has suddenly started asking to read to or be read to by me. I say yes some nights, no others, but I always feel guilty on the "no" nights. On Monday I told him we could alternate nights of solo and together reading because I know I'll be kicking myself all too soon. So now I lie beside him on his bed, listening to his sweet lisping rendition of Babar and other good bedtime stories.

It does go by quickly.

Ruth D~ said...

And Sarah, when he's 18, 6'4'' and 230 lbs, he'll still be your baby. Wait until you get the hugs when he towers over you. :>) Sweet! Cherish "now."

Voyager said...

Ruth, a lovely post. And you are so wise to refrain from the "It's for the best" type comment. Maybe they are destined to be highschool sweethearts who stay together forever. It happens. Or maybe not.

I pack my son off to his first year of college next week, but thank goodness it's only 5 kms. down the road! And he has been taking classes there this summer, so not as much of an event as yours.