I thought of an analogy. Adolescence is like walking through a tunnel made of one-way mirrors. All you can see is yourself reflected on every wall, but meanwhile every one else is outside the tunnel watching you, awkward, only seeing yourself, lumbering through this lanky confused period to appear on the other end, relieved, sane, clear and thankful.
Such a conflicted time. But as a father of rapidly departing children, I think that the memories are the most painful part of life. While you are experiencing the picnics, the vacations on the beach, the nights playing basketball in the dark, the Christmas mornings, the days on a lake in a boat, the poverty, the struggling, the days before they all had cell phones—life was full and rich. And they are leaving the nest in rapid fire, just like they entered the nest, rapid fire, like little grenades into our family, changing everything, demanding much, but bringing incalculable happiness and meaning and beauty. What a life, and it’s not even over.