By: Joelle Charbonneau
My son is only five, so I am not one of the many parents taking their children to college this month. However, two of my students did go off to school for the first time this weekend and while I am not their parent, I have had a great number of emotional moments as I’ve watch them set off into this next phase of their life.
The two that left this weekend have been with me for years. I’ve watched them struggle, triumph, get frustrated and celebrate the happy moments. I pushed them hard as they prepared for countless concerts and musicals and for the intense college application and audition process. They rose to every occasion. And in between the lessons were hundreds of phone calls and texts filled with chat, support, questions and advice.
As a private voice teacher, I get the unique opportunity to really know these students and be a part of their lives. They are my kids. I’ve watched them grow and change and truly become young adults. They are people who think for themselves, are open to new things and passionate about the subjects they have chosen for their futures. I’m so proud of how far they have come and part of me wishes I could still be there for their weekly lessons to help them take the next steps.
But I can’t.
They will have new teachers. They will take these next steps without me. And as sad as I am to not be there to see each development as it happens, I am so very happy. They’re ready for this next step. They have come far enough that they will listen to their teachers with the confidence to try whatever is asked of them. They are ready to believe in themselves just as I have always believed in them. I have done my job. It is time for others to work magic in their lives and for me to step aside.
So, while I’m not the parent saying goodbye, I still feel the tug of sadness and the incredible pride that those parents must feel. Because they are my kids, too.
So to Kristen and Jacob – congratulations on taking this step. And to all the parents out there who are feeling that ache of sadness because their child has started a new phase of their life—my heart is with you all. Letting go is hard, but this is the best kind of letting go.