I was pouring over the blog posts that are put up in honor of my late friend Andrew and stumbled across something rather beautiful in the tribute by his dad. It was in the Christmas card that Andrew sent to his parents:
Thank you for waking up at 4am each Saturday to take me to work, for coming to all my boring basketball games whether I played or not, for the small and not so small daily sacrifices, for learning to trust me to ride my bike around the block by myself…then to the stop sign…then to the college…then to Japan/Hong Kong/Taiwan. After everything, the least I can do is try to make you both proud of my choices whether you are here to see them or not. I love you both!
After a tragic biking accident in Taiwan took Andrew’s life this last January, his parents came out to Taiwan and were able to witness first hand the fruit of choices Andrew did make during his life overseas. Connecting those events that changed everything with what Andrew expressed in that Christmas card seems to bring everything full circle.
This also inspires me to give a shout-out to all the parents out there. Because it’s not easy.
Many of my married friends have become parents lately, and it’s really incredible to hear the things they say about their kids. And it makes me think of what I have with my parents that I never want to take for granted: they let me go. And I sense that Andrew had something similar with his parents. And his parents, just like any other parents out there, have no control over what happens after they trust their child to bike around the block by himself or take a Chinese New Year bike trip, after they let their child go.
Andrew wrote a blog called “Coming Home.” He made his trip home to visit family and run the Chicago Marathon after a year of being overseas. I can imagine the most rewarding thing for parents who have let their children go is when their children come home.
This makes me think of my own parents, who have let me go ever since I graduated from high school. The longest I was ever home was the summer after my first year of college. I actually made my first trip back this last summer after being out here in Taiwan for three years. Three years without coming home. They had and still have no control over what happens to me while I’m out here, and I know from talking to parents that this isn’t easy. And yet my parents have been the most supportive advocates for my life so far away from them.
So here’s to parents, all over the world, with children who leave home to travel the world. Jill & Matt, you two are an inspiration to all of us, just like your son was.
And thank you, Mom and Dad, for letting me go. I can’t wait for the next time I come home.