August 2017

I was feverishly writing something about Charlottesville and the impossible realization that the President of the United States is unwilling to put Nazis and white supremacists on a different ‘moral plane’ than the people who were protesting those groups’ hideous actions. But then I read Jeff Bleich’s phenomenal Medium piece and decided he had said what I feel far better than I ever could. And so, reminded by Kathleen Winters’s eloquent post about the season of saying goodbye, I thought I’d dust this one off for friends sending their first, or maybe last, precious child off to college this month. In case you’re interested, my Year Two update: I can’t say I’ve found that fantastic new book to read, but I’ve tried out a few and this year’s departures are definitely far less brutal than last year’s. So if this is your first time, have faith. It’s what we were working towards all these years, right?

Amid the avalanche of articles and blogs and well-meaning advice I’ve consumed about surviving my oldest child leaving for college, the most helpful was something Amanda Docter offered at a PPN meeting last spring. She said she’s come to think of her kids’ departures as the end of a really good book. A book she’s enjoyed immensely, one she had a hard time putting down while she was reading it, but one she can no longer deny she’s finished. By turning the last page and placing it in an honored spot on her very favorite bookshelf, she gets to choose a new, exciting book to read next.

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