We hit a major milestone this weekend — Tyler received his master’s degree on Monday from Wake Forest. He has a few weeks off, enough time to take care of logistics and for a two week trip to Europe, then he will be starting his career with Aon Hewitt, in Charlotte, North Carolina. So, he has officially flown the coop! He is now a man finding his way in the world, and Karen and I can claim one less dependent, both legally and emotionally.
In the days since his graduation, I have spent some time scratching my head a bit, trying to discover how I really feel about this momentous occurrence. I figured if I started writing stuff down, perhaps it would help crystallize my thinking. So, here’s what I came up with…
I guess the main thing I feel is a thrill of excitement for him, tinged perhaps with a tiny bit of jealousy. My first few years out of college were some of the most interesting, rewarding, challenging, and fun years of my life, and I earnestly hope that he has the same experience. And, I know my boy pretty well, and I think he has the right attitudes and inclinations to have a similar experience to the one I had. Although many of our friends think we’re nuts, Karen and I are thrilled that he is starting his career a couple thousand miles away. It will be his world, he will by necessity be completely independent, we will be visitors there, and in my mind that is a great way for it to be.
I also feel a lot of satisfaction about a couple jobs well done. Successfully obtaining a BS and an MA from Wake Forest is a job well done by Tyler. And, when I observe the young man that Tyler has become, I have to give Karen and myself a pat on the back as well. We took parenting very seriously and put a lot of effort into raising our boys, and are very satisfied with the results of our labor – at least the portion that we can claim responsibility for.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “pride” as “A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” So, yes, I definitely feel proud of him for his achievement, and I trust that Tyler feels proud of himself, as well. I will have to say, though, that I am even more proud of him for his good decisions and solid values, and proud of the kind, intelligent, thoughtful, and personable adult man he has become.