Paul L. Caron

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Bittersweet Day

Reed (sr day -soccer - with Paul) My excitement today in teaching our Introduction to Law course to a section of our eager and talented 1Ls is tempered at having to bid farewell to my son Reed, who has left home for his freshman year of college.

Reed, it was a gut-wrenching and poignant weekend, as we hustled to get everything in order for your trip.  I will never forget our sweet and tender conversations, as we relived the past 19 years and looked forward to your future in college and beyond.  My heart aches that I will no longer know the daily joy of living in the same house with you, but I am comforted by Ecclesiastes 3:1:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

It is time for you to move on to the next season of your life. You are ready -- emotionally, intellectually, physically, and spiritually -- to take on the challenges of college.   I am delighted that you are only nine hours away, and I am counting down the days until parents weekend and your first college soccer game.

Although I am bursting with pride at your many academic and athletic accomplishments, I am prouder still of simply who you are and the man you are becoming.  Remember always that your mother and I love you beyond all measure. And that God loves you infinitely more.  Being your father has been the great honor and privilege of my life.

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My son and I are going on a road trip next week...taking him to LA (Loyola) for his freshman year. I'm fighting back the tears but I also remembering my own swan song at 18 taking off to Reed College in the early 70's. A hippie school if there ever was one. My parents were terrified. I was ectstatic. I'll write my son a letter and use the spirit of your words. Thanks for sharing. Really.

Posted by: Doug | Aug 20, 2009 10:42:05 AM

Son left for school a year ago. I sobbed like a baby. There is NOTHING more dear to me, nothing.

Best of luck to you and your son. Here's hoping your friendship with him will deepen even more as he takes on adult responsibilities.

Posted by: Palmcroft | Aug 18, 2009 1:56:08 PM

Our only child, 18 years old, left for college last week. He's 7 hours away, but under his Grandma's roof; wonderful for both of them. Thanks for the beautiful words about your son. We feel the same way towards our boy.

Posted by: Rita | Aug 18, 2009 1:51:32 PM

My daughter just started her junior year. It doesn't get easier.

Where is your son going to school?

Posted by: Buzz | Aug 18, 2009 7:43:27 AM


First time poster (via Instapundit). Nice post.

Our son leaves in less than two weeks but he'll only be an hour away, which makes it a bit easier. I did a double take when I saw your photo, that could be my son- complete with the blond hair and blue and white soccer uniform. Time moves so quickly.

Posted by: JohnMM | Aug 18, 2009 6:23:22 AM

don't worry, he isn't as gone as you think he is.

Posted by: guest | Aug 18, 2009 6:22:03 AM

Just came to say that I'm diggin' the hipster "sans" beard look!

Rock on.

Posted by: Pres | Aug 18, 2009 6:12:44 AM


And remember the first rule of college:

If someone hands you an open bottle of beer and they're smiling ... don't accept.

You can never tell -what- may be in it because there's always someone willing to have a laugh at your expense.

Posted by: memomachine | Aug 18, 2009 6:06:53 AM

God bless.

In our own much smaller way we're dealing with the same thing -- my son, our only child, moved on to middle school, which is a bigger deal for us since he has spent K thru 5 at the school at which my wife teaches. He was always close at hand, making this a little harder on all of us.

When it comes to college, I can already anticipate feeling as you do, becasue in one go our nest will be empty for good.

Until grandkids some day. I think the greatest blessing would be for your son and his future family to live within an easy afternoon''s drive, if not closer.

Posted by: newscaper | Aug 18, 2009 5:21:17 AM

I'm going through the same thing in a week with my youngest son. Last one out. I feel for you, sir. With you. And the Ecclesiastes 3.1 is splendidly apropos.

Posted by: Phil Pockras | Aug 17, 2009 9:50:56 PM

#1 daughter left Monday for Engineering school. #3 Son has been in engineering school for a while. #2 son is the odd one out in the family. Russian Literature - in the original Russian. Although graduating with honors from UChicago does make up for it some.

Best wishes for you and yours.

And don't worry about academics. Once they get a few years out of school it is performance in the world that counts.

Posted by: M. Simon | Aug 17, 2009 9:38:24 PM

My daughter just graduated from college, and therefore I can speak from personal experience: Reed will be graduating before you blink twice. The next four years will fly by and at the end, you'll *both* be a lot more...educated.

Congratulations--and good luck--to both of you.

Posted by: Mikey | Aug 17, 2009 8:09:32 PM

We are going through the same thing this week. It hurts. It hurts too for all the friends our children have made who are going to colleges all across the country and beyond. Yet they are remarkable young men and women and we have genuine Hope for the Future -- provided our generation doesn't squander it before they take charge of Change...

Posted by: Minerva | Aug 17, 2009 8:05:21 PM

Stop crying about the loss of that son of yours and get to work figuring out how to turn his empty bedroom into a good tax deduction! (Just joking, of course)

Posted by: Baba Ganoush | Aug 17, 2009 7:47:47 PM

Blessings to your family!

I love that Reed wears number 13. It was always my number too; everyone else was always "Noooo, Coach! It's too scary! Can I please have number 7...?"


Posted by: Marlon M. | Aug 17, 2009 7:45:33 PM

Very moving, Paul. You're not only a great tax law professor - and the go-to source for tax law news - you're a great dad as well. Both you and your son are an inspiration. (And I've been moved by your prior posts about your daughter as well.)

Posted by: Pete Terrranova | Aug 17, 2009 1:13:17 PM

Paul--it doesn't get 26 year old was here for his summer clerkship and went back for his 3L year last week..the house seems empty (even though he was mostly at the firm!!!)

Posted by: Roger Dennis | Aug 17, 2009 9:53:49 AM

Life is truly an amazing journey and watching the baby bird fly out of the nest with strength, excitement and apprehension must be a prideful, joyous moment for all. The best is yet to come. Congratulations Paul and family on the start of another new chapter.

Posted by: Francine Lipman | Aug 17, 2009 7:07:22 AM

Paul, be assured he's going to a fine school - congratulations on having such a son.

Posted by: Joe Kristan | Aug 17, 2009 6:08:05 AM



Sounds like he's lucky to have a dad like you.

Good luck, Reed.

Posted by: peter | Aug 17, 2009 5:33:41 AM