Launching my baby bird

This has been a season of great changes. But this weekend was probably the greatest. Julie and I packed the van and drove one bed, four chairs, seven cartons of miscellaneous items, and our son Andy to Charlottesville, where he is working this summer.

This is not Andy’s first summer working in Charlottesville. He has, in fact, worked there for the past three. But this time, he is doing it as a college graduate, and he is not planning on returning to our home as a resident. Our little bird has left the nest.

I have mixed feelings about this. There’s the obvious fact that I’ll miss Andy a great deal. He has grown to be a fine young man, with a lovely dry wit and a wide range of interests and talents, and I always enjoy his company. His absence certainly makes our home a poorer place.

But I have always viewed this as the end goal of parenting: to bring a new adult to the point where he is ready to face the world on his own, capable enough to take care of himself and others, and decent enough to make the world a better place by his presence. In this, Julie and I have succeeded, and I feel a great deal of pride.

After a long day of heavy lifting, Andy took Julie and me out to dinner. It’s an old tradition amongst our circle: when your friends help you move, you treat them to a meal afterwards. Andy’s been on enough moves to know the drill. And it was a fine moment to see him step up into that responsibility, to treat us to this last meal together before he goes off to make his place in the world. A little funny, to be the one treated. But a joy to be the guest of such a good guy.

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