We dropped my son off at college yesterday for his freshman year and moved him into the dorm. It’s hard to believe 18 years have passed since he was born. I’m so proud of him and excited for him at the same time. I can see the path he’s taking and I wish I could be doing it all over again with him.
There is something energizing about being on a college campus. I see an exciting new world opening for my son, which has me excited, and which he does not fully see yet. I am excited to think about where his life might go and to know I had a hand in bringing him to his point. And yes, he survived my coming out and leaving my marriage with flying colors. More than flying colors, he has continued to be extremely supportive and loving towards me.
Spending this time with my wife and son, and having it go so well, was fantastic. I worked hard this past year to rebuild my relationship with my wife, after moving out last June, and that effort has payed off. We went out last night for ribs, after an exhausting day moving him into the dorm and setting up his room. In so many ways it felt like the same family we always were, but today I head home by myself. My wife is staying at the school for a few more days. Tomorrow I go off to Rehoboth Beach, a gay resort, with my friends. And my new life resumes as it was.
These short moments with my wife and son don’t make me miss my marriage. I could not go back at this point, and I love my new life. But there is something warm and nice about our time together. My wife had packed half the boxes while my son was away this summer as a camp counselor, which left him only two days to pack the rest of his things. As we opened up the boxes she had packed, I could see her thoughtful touch, thinking through each thing he might need.
Some of the things she packed struck me as funny, including: a quart sized plastic bag full of Q-Tips (this just made me laugh); two boxes of antibacterial wipes, (just what every male college freshman wants), and special flocked hangers (I had to look up the word ‘flocked’. According to Wikipedia flocking is “the process of depositing many small fiber particles (called flock) onto a surface.”) While in some ways it was a bit too mothering, it was nice at the same time. Our son was loved and thought about. How many people could ask for more? While I did tease my wife about the Q-Tips, I was also moved by how thoughtful and loving she had been, and how hard she had worked to get him ready for college.
The rest of the incoming freshman arrive in two days. My son moved into his dorm three days early for a special Hillel program for incoming freshman. Hillel is the Jewish student organization. There was a student we met on our last visit to Hillel, who recognized me this morning at the Hillel breakfast and said hello. My take of him last winter was that he was gay, and I felt the same vibe today. I liked the fact that this gay student was involved in Hillel. It makes me feel good about the egalitarian nature of the Hillel program.
On my flight back to Washington, D.C. the flight attendant was a transgender woman. I’ve never seen a trans woman in this kind of public role and thought that it was about time. Time for a new level of openness and for LGBT to be out in the world in a public way in all walks of life. While I’m not trans, I am also moving out into the world as a gay man in a very public way.
The world is changing and it is exciting to see. And my life is changing too. While this next year will bring a world of change for my son, it will bring a world of change for me too. So a toast to new beginnings and lives changed forever!