I look at my sons, who are already going into their Junior and Senior years of college and I see little faces and plastic knights' helmets and Fisher Price castles with cannon balls flying. How on earth did we get here this fast? And now I get to face the strange fact that I haven't been a college student in four decades. A large number of these women were also classmates of mine from grade seven right through high school. Nineteen of us went to Emmanuel in the fall of 1970 from Girls' Latin School. Trembling with anticipation in our very first class of freshman year (English with Dr. Jerry Bernhard at 8:30AM) we all gasped when he told us our first assignment was to read "The Aeneid". Eyes widened. Furtive glances were stolen. Notes were passed. "In TRANSLATION? ALL RIGHT!"
But that was long ago when the crust of the earth was cooling. So much has happened since then. There have been jobs and deaths, romances and broken hearts, children and grandchildren (not mine yet, thankfully) and 9/11 and cell phones, ATMs and iPads. It's all new and more than a little overwhelming at times. Yet we cope, some of us better than others. How does one start a conversation after 40 years? "What's new?" Well, there's always wine. Or I could stuff my face with cheese and crackers and feign a migraine. At least we're not quite at the age when we don't drive at night. Or at least I hope that's true. You never know. I may be in for another shattered delusion.
Then tomorrow my older college boy goes off to Washington, D.C. for the summer to serve an internship with our Congressman. This is the very first summer of his life when he won't be home with me. Oh I know the days are numbered anyway. His life is taking off like a rocket, as is his brother's. They have their friends, their own interests, and this coming year, their own apartments instead of living on campus. I realize they may never really move home again, and that's fine. But you'll forgive me if there is a tiny bit of mourning going on. I don't feel needed any longer, and that is as it should be if I have done my job well. But this letting go thing is so much harder than Virgil's "Aeneid" in Latin or in English.