We find ourselves living in odd times. But, some rights of passage continue as though these cycles have a life of their own. First-time college students are gearing up to move into their university communities and start a new life. Yes, much of it will be different but some of it will be very much the same. Likewise, other young adults are looking for jobs and trying to take advantage of opportunities when they present. It is too hard to be part of dampening the spirits of those who are young and enthusiastic about life. I’m not advocating beach parties, motorcycle rallies, bar gatherings, or any other social activity that seems unnecessarily unsafe during this summer of COVID. I am talking about supporting our youth in finding their future. In some cases, this might only be done by traveling, regardless of the reason – college or a new job opportunity, away from home. We cannot continue to put life on hold forever.
A recent opportunity presented itself to my son, a new high school graduate. Together, with us, he weighed the benefits and risks to this opportunity not only for himself but for others involved. The decision was made that he would take the necessary pandemic precautions but also take advantage of the opportunity because sometimes opportunity only knocks once.
These events inspired the following free-verse poem to my mom, who supported me in very much the same way when I was eighteen.
Today, I find myself in your shoes.
I just put my baby on a plane to the West Coast.
He wanted to go.
He needed to go.
He had an opportunity to spread his wings.
Before he left, I had to remind myself
that I did the very same.
At the same age.
I got on a plane.
And, flew to Japan!
Do you remember?
I am sure you do!
I was eighteen and naive.
He is eighteen and excited!
I know now that you were scared.
Sending me off to a land unknown,
With only one person there to pick me up,
care for me,
and send me home safely.
Much is the same for my boy
who is becoming a young man.
I know I am scared, just as you were.
But, I also know I had to let him go.
I knew that because you let me go,
almost 40 years ago.
You trusted in me.
You trusted in yourself.
You and Dad raised me well.
I made good decisions and
came home safe.
I have faith that this will be the case now.
Today, my baby spread his wings.
No longer in the nest but
a fledgling in the world of art.
Thank you for your love
and trust all those years ago.
My trip was not perfect, but
I learned so much.
I grew because you let me go.
And, now it is my turn to do the same.
Forever Grateful with Love,
Today is Poetry Friday! Thank you to Laura Purdie Salas of Small Reads for Brighter Days for hosting the round-up this week!