Almost three years ago we made our first trip to Washington DC as our second born took wings to study as far away possible from us. We had encouraged him to stay local but all efforts failed. He opted for a private university in the hub of DC. I remember that weekend and how hesitant I was, how I couldn't believe this was already happening. Four years before when he had finished Jr. High and entered High School I prophetically said that four years would go fast. They did. We were now releasing our 17 year old to the world unknown to him and as much as we had sheltered him, it was now time for him to start being more independent. I had a plan to keep him in check. He had to report via text every time he would leave campus, Skype with us once a week and route all emails to my personal account. Of all, only the last two are still true. For the last one, I used the "As long as I am paying for your school you have let all your emails go through me," but this am afraid will end really soon.
Almost three years ago we landed in DC not knowing what to expect. We took the Metro to our stop at our hotel. I will never forget how I, as a commanding leader, took them walking the wrong way towards the hotel as we were pulling all of our luggage and how mad everyone was because of it. During orientation we got to see his school including the room where he would spend his first semester. It resembled cabins rented for camping trips. Mere white bricks with resemblance of jails made up the four walls. But he was content with his third of the room which he would share with two other inmates. I remember meeting a man who was also dropping off her daughter. By design he was from California living in a city very close to ours and so he nudged us to go and meet her. We all went. There for the first time we met the girl (and so did he) who would "secretly" become my son's girlfriend and become the love of his life.
Then there was the search to find him a church to attend. We had gotten a "referral" to Capitol Hill church in DC so on Sunday we marched to find the church. As novices to the DC area we had a hard time finding it, time passed and the rain came down on us. Wet and exasperated, my wife and son insisted on giving up since the time was now passing and we would miss most of the service. But as their leader, I could not falter in my quest so we kept going. We finally found it and were able to catch the sermon. It was here where we received directions to a brand new church closer to his place of study. It is in this church where he has remained for almost three years. Where his spiritual growth has taken off as two young pastors have mentored him in the faith.
As our 17 year old son became aclimated to the environment we prepared for our departure. For him, it was a new adventure. For us, especially for me, the hardest thing I would do. The night before his departure we gather together to pray and I could stop my tears. It was time to release my second born to a world unknown to him. As hard as it was, I did.
In these three years, he has gone back and forth, from his academic journey. He has traveled ten different countries (my count) as part of his education. God has been faithful in his financial provision for him. When he started his journey, I did not know where the funds would come to pay his loans, but God has provided (and I reminded of the last payment I have to make).
So here we are. We are en route to DC for a second time. This time it is to see him receive hisbaccalaureate. I can't believe we are at this point now.
I wish I could say he is coming back with us. He is not. I guess it is the official release as a young adult into the world of independance. He is on his own. Just like the first steps he took when he was starting to walk, but this time without anyone holding him. So we release him.