Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nest leaving

My sister Anne is missing her son Patrick, who is transferring from Marist for the prestigious PGA program at Florida State in Tallahassee. He’s worked especially hard to get there and deserves this wonderful opportunity. I know all moms miss their kids when they leave for college. This particular saying good-bye seems especially hard. Tallahassee is much farther away than Marist, though my practical daughter Katie reminds me that “it’s just three hours away by plane.” We’ll see how that plays out when Henry goes away to school!

Patrick is a terrific kid. He’s the kind of nephew who comes up to you, wraps his arms around you, and says, “Hello sweetheart!” and not in that Eddie Haskell, brown-nosing way, either. He is playfully affectionate but he really means it.

When Patrick was born, he joined two older brothers, Jack and Ben, and he was followed by Will, brother #4. I refer to them as the “Boys Bishop.” Patrick is not one to get lost in the crowd. He’s always made his presence known, establishing his individual personality early on. Patrick was a little baby when I made him a patch-work quilt for his crib and a muslin bunny to keep him company in there. He loved the blanket, hated the bunny. I’d find it thrown on the floor. Rejected and ejected. It seemed to creep him out. The blanket, however, was so loved that it eventually fell completely apart. So, when he was a bigger little kid, I made him another blanket, this one reflecting his love of baseball. I had to smile last week at the beach house in North Carolina, when I went into his room and saw the baseball blanket there, on his bed. I love that he still has a place for it in his grown-up life.

Patrick (Pat to his brothers and friends – always Patrick to me) expresses his emotions openly. When he was just a tiny little guy, I’d visit their home in Cazenovia and he’d open my door in the morning, the first to greet me. When I’d get ready to leave, he didn’t want me to go. He threw himself on the floor, wrapped his arms around my ankles, and held on as I pulled myself to the door. I’ve always known him to be just as happy to see me, and that’s a precious thing in anyone’s life.

I consider myself very lucky to know such wonderful people in my children and my nephews and nieces. Whenever something terrific happens in any of their lives, I feel that joy. Whenever something difficult or challenging happens, I share that, too. Right now, I’m understanding how hard it is for my sister and her husband to say good-bye to Patrick, for now, but I am also feeling the excitement and optimism he must be feeling as he starts this exciting new chapter in his life.

Hey buddy, I’m proud of you!

Photo by Suzette O'Farrell

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