” I will get the book info when I get home tonight,” the text message read.

“When I get home tonight,” I repeated this phrase several times in my head. What is he talking about? He lives in Cleveland and I am sitting in his “home” reading this damn text message. He couldn’t possibly be referring to that 12 x 10 dorm room that he shares with another freshman as “home.”

I have been an absolute wreck since we walked out of our son’s dormitory this past Tuesday, leaving my oldest child and only son 260 miles away. My separation anxiety is eating me alive and is a function of a few things. The first is that I have never known life without him under my roof each and every night, with the ability to get up, look him in the eye, check his breath, make sure he hadn’t torn up a car, and satisfy myself that all of his body parts were still in tact. Second, my selfishness wants him to always be that little boy who would run to the door when I came home or cry when I had to leave the house. Third, let’s face it, I went to college.

As we walked out of his dorm room, I handed him a sealed envelope that had a letter in it. The letter expressed several things to him. I attempted to capture in writing, as best I could, the breadth and depth of my love for him. I also thanked him for the privilege of allowing me to try to be the father that I never had. Finally, I wanted him to have an anchor, a resource, that he could go to and hear my words of both admonition and encouragement whether he needed one of the two, or both. Writing this letter made me feel real good. What made me feel even better is that I know he read it because he told me it was “real cool.”

My son is off to college now. He is attending an excellent school. We have given him a solid foundation and rudder, made up of experiences, values, respect, and love. I am sure that as the days go by; I will cry less and laugh more. I will never stop checking my phone, as I anxiously await his texts or confirm our Skype times. For sure, I will count the days until breaks from school and he is coming home.

We have raised a good young man-child, who is taking his first steps into the world. I, along with his mother, will be there supporting him, offering him advisement when he either requests or needs it, and praying for him every step of the way when he ignores the advice, thinking he has it all figured out.

I think there are a few things that I can be assured of; I have done the best that I could to be a good father, his spiritual and moral compasses have been properly calibrated, and most importantly he will be ok because God will take care of him.

Frankly, I think I overreacted to that text message because there are some things that I know. I know that he understands that his home is here in Cleveland with us. How do I know this you might ask? I know it because home is truly where the heart is. I know it because I can say without reservation that his heart, his sister’s, his mother’s, and mine are together and will always be.

I know all of this because his mother and I have worked extremely hard every day for the last 18 plus years to do our best to make sure that it would be that way!

Dad misses you and loves you even more Son!

2012 All Rights Reserved. The Family Meeting.

This entry was posted in 2012, Conduct and Behavior, Family, Fatherhood, Love and Relationships, Mentoring, Motherhood. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. michele hunt says:

    My heart goes out to you and to Margaret, I remember the day I left Nicole at the Dorm on her first day at college in New York City. It was one of the most confusing times in my life – full of joy, pride and sadness at the same time. Letting go is hard, but when they are given the depth and breath of love that you and Margaret has given him, they stay connected.

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