As I have mentioned here before, I am Pro-Choice. Not that this opinion affects any woman's reproductive rights. That would be the rather exclusive domain of those who are capable of making such decisions. I'm looking at you, Rand Paul. But before I start down a path which I have already asserted that I have no business being on in the first place, let me say that the choices I prefer to be involved in are those which can best be served by those without ovaries. Even now, however, I find that the number of choices over which I actually hold sway may have reached a peak, and now I find myself on what could best be described as the downhill side. I am ready to embrace that moment when I can no longer be trusted to feed and clothe myself, and choices like paper or plastic will be determined by someone much more capable than myself.
That doesn't mean I'm ready to retire as a parent. I'm going to stay on that horse until the buzzer sounds, but all those things that used to require my signature or affirmation are beginning to taper off. There aren't as many family discussions about what we will all do with the upcoming vacation day, or whether taking that extra class would be a good idea. These days I find out where my son is via text, or that he has decided to have a free period at the end of day over dinner when we all sit down to dinner. This isn't to say that he is keeping things from me. On the contrary. He is quite forthcoming with news and updates about the course of his life. But it is his life now, and I can only blame myself for raising a son who would be capable of making these kind of choices for himself.
Like the choice he made to quit going to weekly piano lessons. It would be tremendously peevish of me to complain about my son's decision to stop going to piano lessons after ten years. I quit going to piano lessons myself long before I was a senior in high school. That coupled with the somewhat embarrassing way that my son's talent and skills outstripped my own long before he ever began to consider quitting makes it all the more quirksome of me. What right do I have to tell him not to do what I had once done, years before?
The same right he has to pick his own path. That's what his mother and I have been creating all these years: A person who can chart his own informed course into the future. Gone are the days when we set up playdates for children we felt best suited his developmental stage. We no longer bring clothes home to him. He wants more black T-shirts, and he'll tell us where we can get them. Now we look ahead to the future. A future that will be filled with options and alternatives that will eventually put him in a position of picking from an ever expanding menu of possibilities. What college to go to, what his major will be, what career, where will he live, who he will be friends with, who he will date, who will he he marry, whether or not they will have kids of their own someday who will break his heart by growing up and making choices of their own.