Well, today is my oldest son's 22nd birthday, and he is celebrating by moving to Chicago to start a job at a TV show. It is a big moment for him, and for all of us--grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, childhood friends . . . everyone who has loved him over the course of his life.
Good teachers work to teach themselves out of a job. Family goals are not so stark, but still, most parents do know, from the beginning, that the best-case scenario means that a child will eventually leave home. My hope has been that my sons would go forth into the world at moments when they were overflowing with excitement, ambition, curiosity, confidence, affection. And in fact, that has happened with James. Tom and I somehow managed to produce a man who loves to work hard, has tremendous social skills, is clever with his hands, and has an artist's eye. He also tells jokes, makes good coffee, is a master at political sarcasm, reads Dostoyesvky, adores dogs, rides his bike, does dishes without being asked, plays ping-pong with little cousins, knows how to set a mousetrap, and says "I love you" when he's talking to his mother on the phone. What more could I ask for?
Godspeed, dear boy.