A Twenty-two Year Project



1990, two years into the effort

Last week my youngest son sent me a short text message from the University of Minnesota, Duluth: “DONE.” He just announced he had taken the last final of his undergraduate career. Although he was floating on air,  I sat back in my chair, stunned. That one word said the twenty-two year project was really over. From now on he was on his own.


2010, at UM-D, graduation day

He is going on to law school in the fall, to a city far away. From there he hopes to catch a future of international life. He’s drawn to urban excitement and drama, none of the things to be found here, or so he tells me. Whatever. All I understand is that he’s probably not coming back here once he departs.

There’s a million clichés I could share, but I won’t. I can’t sort the complex feelings of pride and … worry. But mostly I’m filled with a sense of accomplishment. We always set a future for our kids. We told them to think about tomorrow as well as today. And Lord have mercy, but he did it! Our other son, the twenty-five year project, moved out on his own a few years ago. He’s in the Navy, “somewhere in the Persian Gulf.”

It’s really just the two of us now. Back to where we started. We’ll have to build some new dreams for ourselves.

My wife and I went to his commencement up in Duluth. As we sat there, I recalled it was nearly thirty years ago that I graduated from Indiana University. When I got home, I dug out the old photos and found a picture with a note on the back. It was the exact May day, in 1980, written in my mother’s hand.



1980, me, I.U., Bloomington, IN

Ah, more emotions.

Thank you, God. How rich we are!



  1. Congradulations and God bless you all! Getting to this point is truly a team effort. I was also in Duluth that weekend, perfect weather for a graduation.

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