This Was Not the Teachable Moment I Expected It to Be

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“What would you say is the worst part of all this?”

When I asked my 19-year-old son this question, I secretly patted myself on the back for making space for him to express himself and creating an opportunity for us as parents to validate his feelings, just like all the articles said I should do. I expected him to be disappointed that his freshman university experience came to an abrupt end one day (one day!) before track season began. I thought he might complain about having to remote teach his remote self differential equations. I was sure he missed his college friends, who seemed to be just starting to gel as a group.

“The people dying.”

I was taken by surprise, yes, but only for a flicker. The feeling that followed was something I can only describe as a fierce battle between pride and heartbreak, followed by a dawning realization that my son is a person. It’s happened. I am…

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