My Mom role has changed -- my boys are men and they have their own lives. On this trip, I learned that there is joy in being an observer, giving them space and in so doing, finding some great space of my own.
When our children are young adults, do we have any place to "comment" on uncombed hair, cracked nail polish, table manners or strange outfits? Do I have the right to tell them to mind their Ps and Qs and while they're at it, pick up a brush?
The teachable moment for us parents that Penn State drives home is the ongoing role we play to help our children make moral decisions. Most likely, our children will never be confronted with such a horrific situation. Instead they face a thousand cuts of ethical quandaries.
My parents and I wound our way into D.C. and my father parked the car behind some obscure but fancy little church. As we walked toward the church, my father announced that this is where they were to be buried.
This is a moment in which we may feel enormous loss, depression, deflation. We are challenged on so many fronts, but a significant one involves having to face something of which we may not have been aware: the secret plan we never knew we had for these later chapters in our life.