I've heard that a significant parenting milestone is creating an entry in your address book for your own child.
I crossed that threshold when my daughter became a freshman in college a few weeks ago. From now on, when she visits, she'll be more like a guest than a roommate.
The night before she left, we stayed up late watching home videos. There's a great clip of her 4-year-old self sending her baby doll to college. The doll got to go to college even though she was little because "it's her birthday over there!" (said with the very broad Boston accent).
So college has been on our minds since the beginning. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered of Christian Science, wrote that the "seed is in itself," taken from the first chapter of Genesis ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 508). Such an interesting image. You could think of it as genetic material, but the discussion of this concept makes it clear that she thought of this seed as an idea. Ideas carry their full potential within themselves.
To me, this has always meant that each of us is complete. In other words, Spirit didn't leave anything out of its creation - our very being is a reflection of the Divine and therefore contains all that makes us its image and likeness.
I trained myself from the birth of my children not to see them as incomplete biological beings, but as total expressions of God. As their human parent, I would see this unfold from within them, not as a result of adding anything to them. I didn't have to recreate them, but just witness their own revelation of who they are.
Now as I think of my daughter having outgrown living at home and moved on to college, this idea is comforting me again.
She has all that she needs within her. She is complete right now, the total magnificent expression of infinite Soul. The new environment of college will allow her to manifest more aspects of her own infinite nature. I'm leaning on this concept from Science and Health: "Christian Science presents unfoldment, not accretion; it manifests no material growth from molecule to mind, but an impartation of the divine Mind to man and the universe" (p. 68).
As we sat in her dorm room saying our good-byes and the tears started to flow from both of us, I remember thinking, Wow. There are these moments in life where you can see that great growth is ahead. Sometimes life's changes happen gradually, sometimes things happen in ONE DAY. There may need to be time for acclimation, but the growth is assured, just as the forsythias outside my daughter's bedroom window at home burst into bloom each spring.
I told her as we hugged, "Honey, we've been preparing for this moment for 18 years. You are so ready for this. It's gonna be great."
Even as a diamond can only show all aspects of its radiance when its angle to the light changes, so human change allows new elements of one's being to shine forth. I'm reminded of the truism, There is no progress without change. A different setting, both for humans and for diamonds, brings out what perhaps was unseen before.
If you're like me and have just sent a child off to college, take heart. Our kids may be in a different setting, but all that means is the world will see a new radiance from them. We get to sit back and enjoy the show.
are passed away;
behold, all things
are become new.
II Corinthians 5:17