The Student Becomes the Teacher

He arrived on August 27th, 1992. My husband had seen tons and tons of yellow butterflies on the golf course and figured that was a sign. And it was. A sign that we would have a healthy son who would bring us years of joy.

As our first child, we worked hard to make everything a lesson. And then, we worked hard to satiate his curiosity. His first word was lawnmower and when he was two and did his best to say “stethoscope”, we knew we had a challenge ahead.

But in high school, he got a bit lost and figured he’d join the Navy. He tested high, was recruited for nuclear submarine school and to prep for SEALS or Air Rescue training…and was injured, in a freak accident, on the plane on the way to boot camp. So he began to reinvent himself and figure out what was next. He worked several jobs, looked into colleges, and traveled with a company that made methane gas out of dumping grounds. He came home, had surgery to fix his torn shoulder and healed enough to plan to enter the Navy again.

And he tore his ACL.

Out of desperation, I found him a job making deliveries for a small local company for two days a week…and within nine months, he had taken over as manager of the facility. He hired and fired, he fixed equipment, worked customer service and found his path.

It’s what we parents wait for: The moment that our children find their path. They could have many paths ahead in their lifetimes, but there is that one clear moment when you, as a parent, know that they can be happy in whatever they choose to do.

Today was his last day at the facility. He has worked hard for the last few years to make strides for the company and for himself. And despite the fact that the next few months will see even greater rewards from his efforts, he made the choice to leave.

He weathered rumors and accusations and territorialism and jealousy, as we all do in some of our chosen professions. He came to visit one day to tell us that he had made the decision to work with people who are good, decent people. He was going to move to Kansas to work for a harvesting company and for the next seven months, he’ll be traveling from Texas to Montana to harvest various crops. He’ll work hard, he’ll learn new skills and he’ll learn more about himself.

I have realized that we have reached the point where the child has become the teacher. I have watched my son handle a difficult situation with maturity through frustration, handle himself with calm despite the storm around him and when I, the protective mother, wanted to fight on his behalf, he simply said, “Why? When life is so happy, why waste your time on unhappy people or things?”

I know my heart will feel a gap when he leaves and I will miss the lessons I’ve received from him in the last year or so. But he is so incredibly right. Life IS so happy…to get lost in thinking the job is what is important is to miss so very much!

The sun is out, my heart is full and I am convinced that there are so many good days ahead. My son is shining.


Author: jillswain

Former Mayor Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Advertising consultant Mom and spouse (30 years and counting!) Rec league girls' volleyball coach Champion of all things Huntersville, North Carolina

2 thoughts on “The Student Becomes the Teacher”

  1. Thanks, got me all teary-eyed! Funny when you said “he is so incredibly right”, I thought it said ” he is incredibly light”… Turns out it could be either… Sending good karma along with him!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s