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August 5, 2021

A Love Letter to my Son the Day before He Leaves Home.

My dear sweet Dylan,

Tomorrow was supposed to be the day we’d pack up the car and head to the airport for San Francisco.

We would make it an adventure, just like we did when you moved into Ehringhaus freshman year at Carolina.

We would clink glasses to your future at the Clift Hotel and head to dinner at the Slanted Door. Dessert would be upstairs at Miette for cake. In the morning, we’d wake up and wait in line for breakfast at Dottie’s True Blue and explore your favorite city.

I would wait for the furniture delivery while you and Dad went to the DMV to get your new license. I would make up your bed and run out to the grocery store to fill your fridge with all your favorite foods and make you feel at home.

It was all mapped out in my head. And when we left, Dad and I would have a clear picture in our hearts of where you were when you’d call your old home from your new one. Or so I thought.

I now realize that this was my vision of your departure, not yours. Your focus was more on arriving on your own two feet. Since the day you took this job in October, I have been imagining this trip we would take to set you up. And then about six weeks ago, I started to hear whispers of you wanting something else.

It started when you said, “It’s sure going to be expensive for us all to go out to Cali,” your gentle way of opening a door that would feel heavy to push. Then it was, “I might want to head out there and figure it out” and then it was, “I’d like to go by myself and do this on my own.” You wanted to set yourself up and you weren’t backing down.

In the last year or so, I believe you’ve come to know who I am. I have noticed. I always say that one day, and not necessarily today, you will grow to appreciate the fact that you have a mother who is comfortable in her own skin. I have never tried to be anyone but who I am. I hope it’s one of the character traits I have demonstrated as you learn to give yourself permission to be yourself.

As I look at you now, I see a young man who is just that—comfortable in his own skin. And as profoundly disappointed as I was when you ditched my moving trip, I realize that it’s just you asking for what you want—your moving trip.

You’ve always been the easy one—going with the flow, sometimes at your own expense. I think back to you as a little boy and when I watched you not always speak up for yourself in order to make others happy. So in a journey of my soul, I have grown to respect and even admire your decision to go out to California and forge your own way.

As you live on your own, I hope that you’ll make time to walk on a beach, take a swim in the ocean, and enjoy the things that stir your soul. I hope when you pull up to a red light, you’ll enjoy a pause rather than get annoyed that it’s holding you up.

Continue to learn and to grow. You are a student of life. There is no greater compliment in my book. Go to California knowing that the “Rosenberg Four” is not diminished in any way by distance.

Understand that to Daddy and me, there is a big difference between a text and a phone call. Both serve a purpose but do pick up the phone and let us hear your voice, as you always have. I may not know your bank account number anymore, or even have your address memorized, but I would walk through fire for you. You are a part of my heart and soul. There will always be a space that only you can fill.

Enjoy every day for what it offers, opportunity or lesson, stay present in the moment, and don’t miss the silver linings. Ask for what you need and want. It’s not selfish to want things for yourself.

Keep your yoga mat in the trunk of your car and roll it out regularly. Reach out when you have a victory to share or when you need a soft place to fall. Continue to use us as a sounding board. We are your biggest fans and always will be. That is not contingent on anything you achieve or do not achieve. It is the forever unconditional love of a parent for a child.

Know that even though Dad acts tough, he will struggle when you leave. And even though I don’t act tough, I will be tender. The universe was kind to bring you home these last six weeks and cruel at the same time. It’s bittersweet. We have gotten used to you again, so in some ways when you leave Tuesday it will be as difficult as when you left freshman year. Yet in most ways, it will feel right.

I have yet to reconcile that you won’t be bringing the boys of 808 home for spring break, or calling me with your flight information for Thanksgiving. That’s the quiet screaming difference. There’s no endpoint to the separation. But ain’t no mountain high enough.

We are right beside you in every way that matters. I know you know how much we love you.

You are ready for this. The question to be asked is, how are we supposed to be?

Nobody teaches a mother how to put her son on a plane and say goodbye. So here’s my pledge to you. I will do my very best to honor you and what you need, and in return, I ask that you do the same.

Know that keeping in touch will make us feel whole when a piece of our souls is missing. Remember you are one-fourth of my happy place and nobody can change that.

I love you Bub. I hope you find gold in California.

From now on when I hear it’s better in California, I’ll know it’s true.

~

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