Friday, April 26, 2013

The Real Reason I Had Kids

This morning, my son Luke is taking his last final exam as an undergraduate. (It’s in advanced inorganic chemistry—better him, than me). My daughter took hers yesterday. I now have two college graduates who will soon be leaving home. (Though, of course, in the intervening days, I have plans: please help Matthew study for the math section of the SAT, help me plant the new hedge plants, scrub and re-stain the deck, etc.)

And soon they’ll be moving out. Luke moves out in June—to starting working at a university lab where he plans to begin his PhD in organo-metallic chemistry in the fall. Ariel will move out in August to start her PhD work in mathematics at Emory.

A dear friend took me aside the other day to tell me that having two kids leave at the same time is extra hard. (My friend had twins.) I’m trying to prepare myself by reminding myself of a promise I made to myself sixteen years ago—that I’d be truly grateful.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I have an autistic son. And at the time he was diagnosed (and we were told he might never learn to speak), I heard several mothers complaining about how sad they were that their children were leaving home. While I understood their grief, it seemed to me that they were missing something huge. That they should be celebrating too. Our children don’t belong to us—not like some kind of possession. God merely gives them to us to raise. And if all goes well, then they begin lives of their own, which is as it should be.

Soon half of my kids will be gone. (And, yes, I’m sure I will cry.) But I will be cheering them on in their new lives. And I’ll be trying to figure out how to get them to visit—I’m guessing roast beef dinner and laundry might do it. And when they’re here, I’ll hand them a paintbush—after all, the deck needs re-staining. And one of my kids will say, “You had us just so you could have slave labor, right?” And I’ll say, “Absolutely.”

File:Paint brush.JPG
Photo by Chenspec, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

BTW, today is the last day of 99 cents sale for Screwing Up Babylon.


  1. I wish my parents had the same mindset as you. They think they own me until they die as if I owe them simply for being born.

    Congratulations to your children though! Those achievements sound amazing!

  2. Having two people close to you leave at the same time does sound difficult.

  3. I can't really say much about this, since I haven't had kids, but I can imagine how hard this might be.

    It was hard for me when I had to leave home the first time. And scary, but exhilarating at the same time. :-)

  4. I had to let my daughter go for studies and letting go is the hardest thing I did.