Fall leaves

While about two weeks remain before summer is officially over, you and I both know that if the calendar says September, summer is done. At least, that’s the case pretty much anywhere in Canada. So I’m already a little sad about that. Summer has always been my favourite time of year, and unlike winter, which seems to go on well beyond the bounds of the official months assigned to the season, summer always seems to come to an abrupt and screeching halt.

Now, after having my two sons home for the summer, I’m also a little sad to have said goodbye to both of them. Last week we helped them pack up and move out, Son #1 to a new city and his first apartment on his own, and Son #2 to a different house with five friends in the same university town he was in last year. They are excited, and so am I for them, and hopeful they will have a terrific year.

They are both just an hour’s drive away, so it’s not like they’re on the other side of the country or the world. But I’ll miss them.

I wrote about this before when Son #2 started university. At the time, I quoted a long-ago column from writer Barbara Brotman in the Chicago Tribune (from my “Damn, I wish I wrote that” file) that describes a bit of how I feel this time of year:

“It is a lousy system, parenthood. We are built to swoon with joy when we hold our babies tightly, to sigh with pleasure when we nuzzle our children’s plump necks, to delight in every kiss and tickle. Then we are supposed to let them go. Not right away and not all at once, but still…”

If we have done our job right, as parents, we have helped our children be strong and independent, able to walk away from us without a backward glance (well, maybe just one). But after so many years of holding their hands and their hearts, it’s difficult to do what you must, and let them go without a backward glance yourself.