Absolutely no where in the 'Parent Manual' did it say the depth of agony that one experiences when the last child leaves the nest.  My youngest has left...traveled several thousand miles away and decided to stay there.   I at once kept up my brave face and tone ( this is where they learn how to be strong ) and gave him my pledge of allegiance and help if need be.  2 days later, I felt as though I was hollow...empty !
Now I know that you don't own your children.  Being either creations of love and hope, a wild night of passion or some faulty rubber goods...they're yours to raise and teach.  You owe your children the best of your abilities to instill in them self preservation, honesty, pride and a loose grip on this whole experience of exsistance.

There is, after all, the 'knowledge' that they are separate from you, have they're opinions, share attributes of your mate, and may not even like you...BUT, should anything come between you and your children and mean to cause harm to them...your a foaming at the mouth, monosyllabic uttering monster...there for their protection.

Upon hearing that my wife was in labor...I drove 2 hours at speeds bordering insanity...a 3 hour drive normally.  I find that she is in a room and that I had a baby girl.  All of this told to me by a having a christmas present opened for you...oohhed and aahhed over...and then handed to you.  My daughter was my focus for several years as I watched her grow, learn to talk, walk and dance...  Like 1987A she outshined all in the heavens and she still does..
A fleeting moment was had by myself upon watching my first born son enter this world...this moment held all that I need experience to become a junkie.  Like crack coursing through my veins, burning, chilling...enslaving me, all at once...I knew I was a creator of life. A Protector...A Guide...and I knew I was not up for this tour of duty...BUT I was hooked.  

 I stayed with an abusive woman for years after the birth of our third child...She did not love me and could not love me, but I ignored that and stayed, while the voice of my Father whispered softly of duty, honor, commitment.  I took up seeing a counselor to try to save the marriage and then continued seeing him if only to save myself.  Discovering that to save myself I could be of the best help for my children, I left one day.  Taking photos of all three lying on the couch...each one kissing me...each one saying "Bye Daddy"
One dozen years later it comes round in full circle...They each still need me but in different ways...I still need them but for the same reasons that I had when they first came into this world.  

I have come to realize that the 20 year hiatus I had placed upon myself to be there for them, is now ending...I'm scared.  Its a big world out there and I almost forgot what I wanted and who I am.  

No...the Manual failed to mention the infinent subtleties...

I know that there is NO stopping being a parent...that this tour is never just changes in the support asked for and the support given.

Starting to dream again now...
A place that is silent
where the only thing demanded of me
is to be there.

Your more than I deserve,
I love you guys.

and Gnarley

da chilluns