Funny story. At least I think it is, and I think that any seasoned parent will agree. A couple of weeks ago, my 4-year-old grandson Braden went on a field trip to a raptor site. His mother and his two sisters usually accompany him and his class on these excursions, but this time my son-in-law decided to go instead. Rich arranged to take the day off and was excitedly looking forward to going with Braden on this little trip.

The excitement began to wane a little when the bus and car caravan didn’t begin at the stroke of 8:30. Permission slips had to be checked, and every child’s needs had to be attended to. A little annoyed, Rich called Carrie to share his frustration at the delay, and she assured him that this was par for the course. Okay, so picture this. Everyone’s ready to load up and move out, but wait, there’s Braden boarding the bus with his buddies while Rich is waiting by the family car. He goes over to Braden to ask him if he’ll ride in the car with him, and the little tyke says no. He wants to ride with his friends and is quite adamant about it. The raptors were an hour away, and all that time Rich drove behind the bus, somewhat incredulous that this child preferred his friends to Daddy.

Although it isn’t all that funny (yes it is!), I can identify with Rich, and I want to say to him, “Get used to it!” One day you have this adorable baby who can’t even crawl yet or feed himself or talk, and then you turn around, and he’s riding with his comrades while you’re following behind. It will only get worse (my 24-year-old is spending Thanksgiving with his girlfriend’s family), so enjoy Braden and his sisters NOW before they get farther and farther away.

I looked up “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran and am sharing part of it with Rich and all of the other left behind parents out there.

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

Pretty sobering stuff. True too.