Matriculation Day

August 23rd, 2013

And so it’s here – 6,922 days after Kathy called my hotel room at 4:30 a.m. and said, “You’re a father again” – we take our son to college. (Yes, I was out of town working and missed his birth, which came a week early. Appropriately, he’s never been late for anything.)

This one is impacting me more than when we dropped our daughter off on the same UT-Austin campus 1,828 days ago. That moment felt like a logical transition. Our first-born had entered adulthood and we were thrilled for her to experience all the joys our alma mater offers. Also, Kelsey was so involved in theater and band during her senior year that we really didn’t see her much those last few months, so there wasn’t a lot of separation anxiety.

Kyle’s departure from our household is more like your best friend moving away. We spent so much time together – driving to basketball games, attending sports events, talking about his future, playing golf – that there will be a huge void.

So today, for perhaps the first time, I feel a connection to my great grandfather. He boarded a ship in Europe in 1892, and uprooted his wife and children – my then two-year-old grandfather among them – from their Austria-Hungary homeland to seek a new life in America.

I feel close to his grandson, who joined the Navy after Pearl Harbor, like so many boys, skipping the rest of his senior year. One day in 1945, as WWII neared its end, he and three fellow enlisted men ate lunch a few blocks from their base. The 17-year-old waitress, daughter of the woman who owned the café, caught his eye. On January 20, 1946, he married my mother and never returned to the cold climate of Wisconsin, remaining in Fort Worth to raise four sons and a daughter together.

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” ~ Genesis 2:24

So today is not the end of a wonderful relationship with my beloved son. It’s the beginning of his life’s journey. One I’m certain will lead him to happiness. He is, after all, the fifth generation legacy of a man who, too, left behind parents to discover his fate.

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