I just read the sweetest story about a man who was taking his son to college for the first time. The story is familiar to many of us and portrayed the struggles that parents go through when a child leave home. There is such a dichotomy of feelings that arise.
First you are usually so proud of your child and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for them and you wouldn't want it to be any other way. However, it is a huge transition in your lives. From the time a child is born we teach, encourage and support their efforts to become independent. When they leave the womb they begin that independent journey into life. They say that a child does not truly separate from their mother until they go through puberty but each step they take in learning to walk, talk and make decisions on their own is a move toward that independence.
As they leave the comfort of home and strike out on their own whether going to college, enlisting in the military or finding a new job away from home the relationship with your child begins to change. I noticed when my children left home that I took pride in the fact that they were able to create support for themselves as they moved through life. While away from home they found friends and mentors who became so important in their future. And as the transitions go all was well and in perfect order.
My son told me a story about eagles and how they build their nests and fill them with twigs and feathers for the baby eagle's comfort. When it is time for the baby eagle to leave the nest the mama eagles take away the soft feathers so the nest is no longer comfortable for the babies and they know it is time to fly away on their own. I suppose the rites of passage take many forms but the result is that we would not want our children to stay in our nest. We all want them to fly on their own.