Kids Are Alright

The 20s are all about saying see you soon. Departures and goodbyes don't get any easier as you get older. In fact I would argue that they only become more and more difficult as your relationships become deeper and more substantial. Getting to know people on sincere levels of authenticity, vulnerable, and honesty is something I have to cherish and value the older I have become. Letting them go for both us of us to move on have never been more tumultuous. We grow. We grow up. We grow out. The kids are alright. 

"It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply"

It wasn't until recently that I come to understand some semblance of what my parents meant when they said that they spend every waking moment thinking about us [their kids]. Through work, running errands, and even their relationship as partners at the back of their minds, if not the forefront, pass our faces and our plights. With five us, it must sometimes be overwhelming to have so many people that you would give absolutely everything up for. As of a late I find myself having those moments where you just think about some of the people you feel particularly connected to, slightly responsible for, and most of all love on serious levels. I worry about them in their struggles, daily hardships, and the hurdles they have to overcome. Other times I just get this goofy smile on my face just thinking about how much I love these people. I have embraced my title as a college dad and it's something I'll hold near and dear for the rest of my years. Those fatherly feelings of taking in pride in your child's successes, and even more so feeling deeply impacted by what affects them adversely are what I find myself being inundated with. It's a gift to love and be loved so thoroughly. Life gets to mean so much more when you have people to share and experience it with you. No matter happens, no matter where I go, I will always need to know the kids are alright.

Finality will never not be weird. There's this lack of recognition that things are ending. It's so hard to wrap my head around that some things cease to be (like my college career) and that new things will abound soon (aka grad school). I had my last day of class as an undergraduate student last week and it was definitely one of those memorable days. It was in the wake of the #FreddieGray protests and so I donned my "Racism isn't over" shirt and took the campus attending my final couple of classes. Evaluations, flicked away tears, and good laughs made up my last day which I ended with my senior religion colloquium. Downtown we rode for dinner and reminiscing on our times in college with our quasi-dad/professor. I made it home and procrasti-cleaned just crying up a storm. I couldn't believe that it was all over. Four years of classes had come to an end. Night fell and with that my campus' infamous unsanctioned tradition of the naked bike ride. Chaos was about to ensue and I just needed to know the kids would be alright.
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There is nothing like the minutes before midnight strikes and the air is absolutely electric. There's this buzzing and lowkey beating that runs steady throughout. It was my last hurrah and the motto for the night was YOLO (or my conservative version) and so boxers, suspenders, beanie, and a hipster glasses completed my "look" for the debaucherous festivities. Joined by some of favorite people a solid four laps of semi-nakedness were run. It's exhilarating and disturbing all at the same time. My perpetual sobriety and the sea of whiteness I was surrounded by pretty much summed up my college experience. Safety was key and I was on the lookout hardcore to ensure people were respecting one another's personal space, boundaries, and themselves. It was night I'll never forget because somehow I ended up wrangling my roommate in rare form. All I'll say is the embarrassing videos will come out when that one gets married. Car rides, failed McDonald's attempts, and late night delirious talk ended the night in true form.

The next few days included award ceremonies, abrupt goodbyes, and cranking out finals work. I will never not be surprised by my ability to perform and deliver quality work under the most stressful circumstances. Friday I was struck by severe strep throat, pinkeye, ran out of out printer ink, and scratched part of my face off in my sleep because I didn't have an exam and three essays to turn in. It was a struggle to say the least but I made it through nonetheless with the constant check-ins of everyone around me. Greek Games happened the next day which saw some major ups and a few downs but was memorable nonetheless. I spent the day with Willy just hanging out and recuperating before a serious game of round-robin tennis went down with Zach and Stephen. Late night antagonizing is our thing and so a McDonald's run in the worst way possible. Those are the times that I will always remember. The foolish pretend arguments, random moments, and the big laughs. That's when I know most that the kids are alright.

The weekend flew by like it always does. I wrote little notes for all my fraternity brothers thanking them each for what they gave to me by being themselves and allowing me to know them. It goes without saying that I shed some tears writing those but held it together for the most part save for a rousing roast by my little brother David. Starbucks, home again, and essay writing happened before final visits with one of those kid-people for me in Aaron. I knocked out my next research paper and said my "see you soon" to him. As soon as the door closed I couldn't hold it together anymore and just cried. I didn't expect to get so close with people this year, care about them so much, and love them to where it would hurt to see them go. Tuesday came around and with it was hanging out with my buddy Max for one last time playing video games and eating junk food. I'll miss the heck out of that guy like nobody's business. He always brought me good times. Night fell and with came my last visit with Stephen who Zach and I with some others pretty much adopted. Hours upon hours of just talking about everything, the year, fears, hopes, our futures, and all the ridiculous things in between. 1AM struck and it was time to say goodbye. The embrace was long and my face was wet with tears. I had only known the guy for a semester but it felt like he had been there all along and I couldn't fathom not seeing him on the regular. It wasn't goodbye forever but rather I'll see you again. We did it. We made it. We'll be okay. The kids are alright.

My blog post question for the day is ... how do you deal with saying goodbye? I'm a writer by nature so notes usually do it for me. I like to give people my thoughts on them and hope in keeping it they'll remember me and will stay in touch.


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