Remember the movie scenes wherein prospective parents generate fantasies about their hypothetical children? “When she grows up, she’ll be an all-star softball player!” “When he grows up, he’ll be a ballet dancer!” I don’t think Margaret and I ever stated this explicitly in our newlywed conversations, but we both have upheld an unstated vow to make sure our children know that we love them very much and that we admire and respect their accomplishments — even when that makes them roll their eyes and shuffle their feet. Well, the last week has crowned all of Margaret’s and my parental fantasies with radiant affirmation.
As I said yesterday, on Saturday Josiah successfully defended his senior project at Marlboro College (his “Plan,” in Marlboro-speak; it always sounds to me as though they’re preparing tomorrow’s Hannibal Smiths). Yesterday, we got an email from the Interlochen Arts Academy, offering Pippa admission in their visual arts program, starting in the fall of this year. Today, Nate will defend his pre-dissertation exams in the University of Michigan doctoral program in music theory.
Anyone who has read here more often than occasionally has seen me marvel at our children’s accomplishments; I’m especially captivated at the convergence of these developments. Margaret and I may be in a difficult spot right now, maybe for a year, maybe more, maybe not at all — but we will brook no impediment to our children’s learning to soar to the limit of their capacities (“and beyond!” adds Buzz Lightyear).
I chose the headline title not because Nate and Si and Pippa are moving on to adult estate, but because I realize this morning that I am gradually moving out of my active role as “father-of-children,” and that’s OK, that’s what happens when families grow up. Thanks Nate, and Si, and Pippa, and Jennifer; thanks, Margaret my sweetheart. I’m so proud of you all.