The light down the hall


To the Editor:

This is a note to parents of seniors, written as a parent to their child:

As I once again wake to the 7 am alarm, I make my way downstairs to start the coffee and see you off to school. Since it is your senior year, this ritual is clearly for my benefit and not yours, as you no longer need me to do anything for you.

On this particular day in May, however, as I walk past your hall, I am moved by the light from your room. I wonder to myself why the light this morning evokes such a strong sense of peace, but also sadness? The light is creating the same reflection I’ve seen all these years, as you prepared to face another day. However (at these waning days of your senior year) it now becomes clear to me that this light is about to be turned off, because you’ll soon be beginning the next phase of your journey. As when a boat drifts just over the horizon, you too will be moving beyond my field of vision.

After 19 years of enjoying every minute I was able to spend with you, I must now trust that others will take over this role; that professors, RA’s, roommates, friends and classmates will take on the role of physically being there with (and for) you. And, while I am very excited about the new adventures and challenges that lie before you, there is a small part of me that will so miss seeing the light down the hall; miss seeing your sometimes smiling (and many times hurried expressions) as you rushed out the door, knowing at the end of the day I’d again get to see you and hear about your day. And most of all, I’ll miss the obligatory hug and “I love you” that I always insisted on as you ran to your car.

While I’m confident (over time) the sadness of not seeing the light down the hall will subside, I am comforted by the knowledge that I had the privilege of being there for every phase of your young life and never missed a moment, and it’s been a great ride. I encourage every parent of young children to do the same if at all possible, because one day (and one day soon) you too will be put in a position of missing the light down the hall; Of course, take heart, because your life for the next four to five years will be busy searching out scholarships, outfitting dorm rooms, writing checks for tuition and seeking grant money. But, at least you will be able to wake up on your own schedule versus someone else’s now.

Happy graduation and congratulations to the graduating seniors and their parents.

Jean Kelleher

West Tisbury