The Gift

I received this today from my Dad, Bob Reed Sr.  I don’t think he’ll mind that I share it.  Thanks Dad.

Been thinking about two of our kids and their spouses, and their adjustment to the empty-nest syndrome. They each have their only child off to college, so for the first time in eighteen years, they are alone.

And they are trying to adjust to the vacant bed, unoccupied chair, and silence. There is no mess to pick up. No one to admonish. No one to argue back. No one to bug.

And they can pretty much do what they want. The freedom is sort of scary. Every night can be a date night.

They worry about their kids and their new experiences. And they envy them in many ways. For they have released them like new kites into a new world—a world they themselves once occupied.

But it all reminds me of similar times with those parents way back when. And the ache and joy we experienced when they went off to higher adolescent education.

We consoled ourselves with the thought that is was inevitable, necessary, and desired. And we tried to justify it all by reminding ourselves that our kids were a temporary gift.

Marvin Hamlisch said it best in the musical Chorus Line in the song “What I Did for Love.” One line stands out: “The gift was ours to borrow.”

Of course, he was referring to the talent that was the special part of a dancer’s brief life. But we interpreted the phrase as the wonderful gift of our children that we enjoyed on borrowed time, as they were growing and making our lives so full.

As I’ve noted before, they were only on loan. And perhaps remembering the joys of that long-ago gift of their kids will now help our kids through this time of adjustment and transition.

That gift was—and  is—a  once-in-a-lifetime blessing. May they remember and cherish that special experience.  And may it help them now.

Grandpa Reed