Turn the Page…

Some few weeks ago, I gave birth to a darling baby boy. A little towheaded, blue eyed, bundle of joy.

Tomorrow I am carting him off to college.

I do not know how this happened.

Jake was born hungry. Ravenous from the get go. From that moment til this, he has drunk life in great gulps. Seeing deeper than most. Savoring…tastes, sounds, moments, friendships, life.

He is fiercely loyal. It is, perhaps, the hardest part of this growing. This leaving. For him. To be away from the friends who have inscribed their names into the very sinews of his heart. Away from a certain “she” who has the softest, tenderest place. And away from family…we who sometimes rub wrong, who prickle or misunderstand…AND…we who know all the stories, who have shared the houses, the farm, the dogs, the gypsy wanderings…we who have read the books and seen the quirky movies…we who have cried the deep cries and dreamed audacious dreams. We who are the always. And yet…not with. Not now.

I ask myself what I have not said to him. What I wish I had done differently. It is crazy talk, this. I adore the young man he has become. In spite of me, as much as because of me. A work of grace. Very like his Father. So very like. Whatever I might have given him could not be more important than this: He loves well. He is a passionate follower of Christ. He is curious and courageous, generous and good.

We have had a long growing toward this. All of us. This leaving. It has hovered over our heads all this summer. And we have seized and savored moments together. Precious beads to be strung along a rope called memory.

Still, my heart is sore.

I tell him he was supposed to become obnoxious so that I would be glad to see him go. He has not obliged me in this. There will be a palpable absence in our home. A marked reduction in hugs, and long happy sighs over dinner, and stories, and dreams.

We are learning to walk in the new. Our identity as a family is shifting. Again. And once again we must find our place. This is ever the shape of life.

Over the years I have recruited scripture, prayers of the saints, and words of poets in conversation with with my artist, philosopher son. And in conversations about Jake with his Father. On this auspicious threshold, I offer him a few words from that great poet philosopher, Bob Dylan. A blessing. A prayer.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

I could not find a recording of the classic Dylan rendering. (The one that has left me in tears this summer more times than I care to admit.) But I was happy to find this from one of our shared favorites, the lovely Ms. Norah Jones.

For you, Jake. Godspeed, beloved!!!