When One Door Closes ......

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...... it sometimes slams right in your face.
Some doors are like that.  They suddenly slam shut with so much force that you're knocked backwards.
The door on my "before" life shut like that. 
Suddenly.
Surprisingly.
Furiously.
Permanently.

Other doors close very slowly.  You can tell that they're closing, but it's such a slow process that you can't actually see the movement.
But you know it's coming.

My youngest child is heading off to college tomorrow.  We're both making the day long drive and then moving him in on Friday.
And as I drive away, leaving him behind, another door will close.

I've seen it coming.  I've been aware.
But that doesn't make it any easier.
This is the child who's been with the "after" me the most.
This is the child who was with Jim the least.
It's been a tough road.
To say the least.

I'm sure that all of my children have felt cheated by their father's death.
More than once.
As have I. 
Many, many times more than once.
But this child ...... this child was cheated the most.

He didn't learn some of the lessons about being a good man ...... that come only by living with one.
He didn't get the chance to have any teenage "heart to heart" talks with his dad.
He didn't experience the calmness that Jim gave during turbulent times.
He's the child who missed the most.

But in spite of all that ...... and maybe because of it ...... we've come to this door.
We've made it.
He's made it.
There were many times when I thought he wouldn't.
And there were many times when I thought I wouldn't.

He still has lessons to learn.
He still has growing to do.
He will still become a good man.
Because of who his father was ...... not how much time he didn't get.
Maybe one day he'll be a better father ...... because of what he missed.
And perhaps he'll be more generous with his time ...... because he felt cheated the most.

It's time for him to walk through the door ...... and on to his "after".
We parented him ...... and his siblings ...... the best that we could ...... while we could.
And while I have no doubt that my heart will ache as I drive away, I will also feel excited for him.
And for all he's about to experience.

This isn't a door that will slam shut permanently.
The parenting door seems to open periodically through the years.
And I'm ok with that ...... because I really don't need another one slammed in my face. 


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