My son called home last night. He bought a pickup truck on the weekend – the first vehicle he has selected, negotiated and financed, all on his own. Oh, the pride in his voice was unmistakable, as if he had navigated another passage on his way to manhood.
Not that he isn’t already a man. Five years ago he left home, drove to British Columbia, found himself a place to live and started university. He has made new friends, found a BC family that has practically adopted him, completed a degree and found himself a job. En route he has suffered doubts, injuries, and a broken heart while discovering self-esteem and the self-reliance that comes from deep challenge.
His new environment is now home for him. In his mind, when we talk about “home” he thinks about BC. When I talk about home, I still think about his place here with us. But the youngster that left us and drove away in August of 2005 has earned more than a university degree; he has learned about life as a young man and embraced the adventure and excitement of being on his own.
At this stage of his life, everything is new and different. Almost everything he does is a “first time” (well, not everything – at 25 years of age there a few things that he has done already!!) You can tell when he talks, that the expectations of novel experience cause a surge of excitement that is almost hard for him to contain. He looks forward to the day with a “bring it on” attitude and a confidence that young manhood bestows on the unwary. Let time and life temper his tendency to bolt at things, hopefully with a gentle hand that helps him up when he falters.
But I am excited for him, and so happy that he is glorying in his life adventures. In some ways, I end up living vicariously through him, re-living my own life at that age. At the same time, I wish he wasn’t quite so independent, quite so vivaciously happy in BC. A selfish part of me wishes he was close by, within arm’s reach of birthdays, holidays and special occasions. But the better part of me knows that he cannot be happy unless he is free to follow his dreams, so I have to keep on letting him go.
A pickup truck? Another rite of manhood for my son and another rite of passage for me.