Funny thing about being a parent. It's unlikely you will ever love any person in the world more than your children. Yet you spend all your time preparing them to leave you.
With our sons, they received a couple dispensations from moving out. First, owing to the catastrophic levels of college tuitions, we let them stay home and commute to school if that would help mitigate expenses. Then when Covid hit, just as they were preparing to move out, we told them they could wait until they needed to move out, whether they were in school or not. Given the floundering economy, skyrocketing inflation and cost of living, we said they could work and accumulate what money they could.
Nonetheless it's inevitable that the itch to step out on their own would begin to override financial worries. For our second son, his meeting of a wonderful young woman and becoming engaged made it official. By the end of May this year, he will have moved on. As it should be.
Now our sons, and family, have a reputation for being close. That comes from my wife and me. From the start, we broke from a lot of our peers and didn't take off on trips and vacations while the kids stayed with family. This was partly the result of seldom having family nearby. But when we did have loved ones nearby, we still did things around the kids. We worked hard to have family meals, and made sure at least once a week we had a family night (called 'pizza night', but menus varied). When one of the kids did something in school, we would make sure as many as possible were there to support him. In later years they would break off and have what they called their 'bro-nights' (and give my wife and me a chance for some time to ourselves).
It was something people who knew us identified with us. 'Here come the Griffeys' was a common response to our arrival. Someone once said we're like this flock that is always together. As soon as one walks through the door, you can bet the other five are following.
Yet it is the way it should be that they will be moving out, and sooner than later, save for our youngest. With this May coming around the corner and the wedding, the brothers asked our second son what type of bachelor party he would like. The sky was the limit, boasted our third oldest who makes the best money right now. Whatever he wanted and whoever he wanted to invite, it would be done.
In the end, he said he would just like to spend time with the bros. That's all. Get a hotel room, and do some city searching for what each of the sons likes. Record stores and video game stores, electronics stores and Catholic book stores, and board game stores were among the destinations. My oldest wrote up an itinerary, and we followed it pretty well. Most were hits, a couple misses.
I ended up coming along due to request, plus I provided the driving in a suddenly snowy Ohio. We went to the famous Book Loft in German Village, a store known far and wide around the country. A bit crowded for my taste. We attended Mass at our cathedral. Then it was driving all over from one point to another and just hanging together. After day one we went to our hotel suite, ordered pizza, watched movies and played games. Before bed (and a freakishly annoying regional power outage) we toasted our son's upcoming marriage, along with an addition from me: No matter who they are with and what friends they have, they will always have each other.
Of course the four may get together again in the future when the others make plans to walk down the aisle, or similar events. And with the newlyweds living in town, I'm sure we'll be seeing them. But as we all know, it will be different once he steps out the door for his new chapter in life. You can't help feel a little melancholy. Still, they have made us proud each one, and if God gave us nothing else but them, I'd consider myself more than blessed.
|A shout out to our beautiful Cathedral|
|Walking around Columbus, we liked that this was next to a dumpster|
|A first stop at a gaming store - expensive games!|
|And there was the claustrophobic Book Loft|
|They seemed quick to get away from the confines of the Loft|
|One of the games for a round at the hotel|
|A toast: They may bicker, but they are very close and protective of each other|