Today, my older son is off to begin his freshman year at college. It will be his first extended time away from home and, although he was dead-anxious to go, still there were uncertainties in his silences.
I was sent away to boarding school in the 4th grade. I cried like a baby then. Nowadays, the confusions and tears are internalized. On the one hand, it's all normal and a progression of life. I do want my son to test his wings. On the other hand there is an utterly irrational whisper insisting that my son belongs at home with me.
Buddhists will note appropriately that there is attachment in all of this -- the very stuff that nourishes the soil of suffering. True. And also true is the fact that I will make no effort to turn away from or dissect or somehow dissolve that soil ... that's how deep the attachment is.
The older I get, the more convinced I become that peace has to do with greeting what comes with open arms ... even if it hurts.