I recently turned down the opportunity for a free donut. It came on the first day of my son’s kindergarten. Parents were invited to drop off their children and then join the school counselor for a session entitled Tears, Tissues, and Donuts.
When I first heard about the session, I swallowed a snicker. And when I decided not to go, I made the decision because the whole notion of crying over my son going into kindergarten sounded ridiculous to me. He’s ready for it; I’m ready for it – I’m happy to see him go. That's what I thought. He’s got a whole new world opening up to him, I thought, which is fantastic. Go for it, I thought! Congratulations. Besides, my waistline didn’t need another donut. (Still doesn't.)
Add a few days, add the reality of living with my son away every weekday sinking in. So I’m really swallowing that snicker now. The tears came. Not a whole bunch of waterworks (got to maintain my image, after all, even if I'm the only audience to the tears), just a bittersweet sob or two, or ten. He’s going: already the letting go begins, the subtle growing distance like water eroding sand: first a trickle forms a crack and then the edges fall apart in chunks. Okay, I’m being a little overly dramatic. And, after all, that’s the way it’s supposed to be: the kids grow up and go on with their own lives.
I'm going to go get a donut now.