Sunday, August 24, 2014

On beginnings, endings, and carrying on.

Before I get to the post, I wanted to mention a couple of housekeeping things:
  • Indies Unlimited is featuring the trailer for SwanSong today. (Thanks, guys!) If you haven't had a chance to see it yet -- or if you would like to see some pictures of swans, accompanied by 30 seconds of classical piano music -- click on through and check it out.
  • Voting in the BookGoodies Cover Contest continues through September 7th. My covers for Seized and Annealed are finalists in the Fantasy category. Big thanks to everybody who has voted so far -- you're all my new best friends. If you haven't had a chance yet, I'd appreciate it if you would click through and leave a comment on the cover of your choice.
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"Letting Go" by gnuckx - commons.wikimedia.org
It's been one of those weeks here at hearth/myth.

To begin with, my nephew is starting college this fall, and he and my sister-in-law stayed with us for a few days before he was allowed to move into the dorm.

I've always considered college to be a rite of passage. The ultimate objective of child-rearing, after all, is to turn a child into a functional, independent adult. Going off to college gives a young adult the opportunity to take a big step toward that objective while still living in a relatively structured environment.

Of course, this means the parent has to let go of the kid. A lot of parents today pay lip service to the idea, but in practice, they still want to shield their kids from everything bad that might happen in their lives -- up to and including running interference for them. The technical term for this is helicopter parenting. Sending the kid to college is often a rude awakening for these parents, because the administration treats students as adults, even when the parents don't want them to: "What do you mean, you won't send me a copy of my kid's grades? I'm paying for his education! I have a right to know whether I need to call the professor!" Um, no. No, you don't. Your child is an adult in the eyes of the law, and his success or failure in college is between him and his professors.

College administrators work to establish this with parents during freshman orientation. They set up a separate set of meetings for the parents, and they also note on the orientation agenda the date and time for the parents to go home. Otherwise, some parents would hang around until classes start. Maybe even beyond.

Anyway, kudos to my nephew for attending orientation on his own, and congrats to my sister-in-law for not insisting on accompanying him.

While all that was going on this week, I got word that the friend of a dear friend had died. Yesterday, I attended her memorial service. It was lovely, with much singing and laughter along with the requisite tears.

I'm told that the woman who died believed that her purpose in life was to give and receive love. That's a pretty good life's purpose, I think. And judging by the outpouring of grief and love that I saw and felt in the church yesterday, I have no doubt she succeeded.

Going away to college is an end to childhood and the beginning of adulthood. Death is the end to life on this planet and the beginning of the spirit's next adventure. In each case, we leave things behind -- not the least of which is people who remember us as we were, and who must now carry on without us. And that -- the necessity of carrying on when the people we love have moved on -- may be the hardest rite of passage of all.

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These moments of bloggy carrying on have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.
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