This I Believe

Lori - Denver, Colorado
Entered on August 18, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: parenthood

I Believe in “Letting Go” Gradually

Trebuchet needs home. It’s yours if you’re willing to haul it away. This trebuchet was lovingly designed and built by my son and his friends. This son will be heading off to college soon. He’s going to college in Boston and we live in Denver. The trebuchet is large. It won’t fit in a dorm room. Or more aptly it won’t pass through airport security since it’s essentially a weapon – a medieval weapon, but a weapon all the same.

When this project began in June, I told my son it couldn’t stay at our house. He assured me one of his friends would take it away before the end of summer. But no one has taken it. It sits on the side of our house; its throwing arm reaching my second story bedroom window. If you’re wondering, a trebuchet is a counterweight-powered catapult. And this one is big, approximately 13 feet tall with an 8-foot base. My son believes it’s worth keeping around, if only to admire the creative genius that went in to designing and building it. And besides – who knows? When there’s time and the park service employees aren’t around, it’s always fun to fire cantaloupe and other melons from it at our local park.

I believe in “letting go” gradually. Leaving for college is the start of leaving home. It’s leaving a certain comfort level; it’s leaving behind your childhood. However, it is not leaving behind your trebuchet. Over the next several years my son will slowly, but inevitably leave this home. I am ready – almost. My insistence that he relocate his trebuchet is part of my gradual process. In a couple of weeks he’ll pack his clothes, sheets, towels, and a new laptop. What he doesn’t pack, though, will stay in his room awaiting his return. He also has a room in our basement that he uses to make or repair almost anything electronic. This room will for the most part continue to store his tools and miscellaneous electronics, although I hope with less clutter. He is leaving, but much of him will remain behind in the form of random gadgets, books, albums, and a tall dusty old amplifier.

But not the trebuchet. It must go. And this is what I believe about letting go gradually. I let go of that trebuchet first. Then maybe I’ll convince him to give up his workroom in the basement. And finally, sometime over the next four or five years, I expect he’ll pack his books, albums and gadgets and move completely out of these rooms. Our house will no longer be his home, becoming instead the home where he grew up.

And that is why I have not wavered when my son looks at me a little imploringly, hoping I’ll change my mind about keeping this large representation of his creativity. “Letting go” has to begin somewhere, and for me it will begin with that trebuchet.