The Next Turn

Road sign merging

Road sign merging (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luis does not get it. He sits in the passenger side seat, his son, Roberto behind the wheel and he does not understand. Over and over people tell him this is a bittersweet moment. Teaching his boy  how to drive means accepting that he is a growing young man, almost ready to go out into the word on his own. They tell him she should be proud of his son, and he is, but they also tell him that he should be sad that soon he will be leaving the nest. To him that makes no sense whatsoever.

For sixteen years Luis has fed, sheltered and clothed Roberto. With help from his wife Shelly, of course. They have provided for their son in every conceivable way. They have dealt with the worry of his first sleep over, and enjoyed the pride of watching him bat in the game winning run. They have done everything a parent is supposed to, and now, as his only child drives for the first time, Luis thinks about how happy he will be in a handful of years when that child leaves the shelter of their home.

It is not exhaustion, or unhappiness with being a parent, that drives this thoughts. Roberto has always been a good boy and Luis and Shelly could not be happier with him. They have loved every minute of being parents, even the hair-raising ones. Instead it is the oncoming sense of accomplishment that he looks forward to. Why would anyone dread the idea of their child becoming a fully developed adult? Isn’t that the point of being a father or mother: to prepare the next generation to be ready to take on the responsibility of living on their own?

Luis looks forward to that day, whether it is in two years when his boy graduates high school, or in six when he graduates from college (with honors, of course.) He relishes the certainty that he has given Roberto opportunities that he and Shelly never had, and that his son is a good enough man to take advantage of and appreciate them. For now though he simply enjoys the pride he is feeling now, as they take their time in the abandoned parking lot before he tells him to head out to the street.

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