Keeping healthy relationships with our children is vital to our own emotional health and well being.
As a parent I would like to think that we all hold many loving and happy memories of being with our children. Some of those precious moments really stand out and we will forever carry them with us. One such memory happened between my only son/child and me last week. We had come to the end of a wonderful chapter in our life together. He recently graduated from college and landed his first job as a civil engineer in an awesome city that will take him thousand of miles from home for 18 months. He had lived with me during his last two and half years of college so he could work a university sponsored practicum close to our place. The day had come where he would have to say goodbye and leave our apartment for the last time to begin his epic journey into the unknown bright future ahead of him. I thought I was emotionally at peace with him leaving, knowing I would visit him and he would be making trips back home for the holidays. I walked him to his car and helped him load the few items he would be carrying with him on the plane. We hugged and when I went to tell him I love him and would miss him, I suddenly choked up. I felt the tears dam up and I couldn’t speak. He knew what I was feeling and held me tighter as he was touched by my show of emotion. I finally found my voice and told him he would be okay and that he would do well in his new job. The embrace ended and he slowly made his way to his car. I stood waving, looking sad back, I’m sure. What my son did next really surprised me. He had started his car and was about to drive off, when he suddenly stopped, re-parked got out of the car and came over to me. He did not say anything at first just hugging me once again and then he said with heartfelt words “I love you, Dad.” I never felt closer to my son than I did in that moment – As I reflect back I was saying goodbye to my not so little boy whom I helped raise since he was an infant and watched as I proudly noted the grown young man bravely stepping out in the world on his own. I cried on and off all that day with tears of joy, replaying that moment over and over again. I thought how blessed I was to be saying goodbye to my son who was leaving me for a future loaded with unlimited potential and wonderful adventures. I paused to think of other parents who have had to say goodbye to their children in dire circumstances and how hard it must be for them. I hope that all of you that read this will have or have those special memories with your children – it is what makes a life worth living.