I wish I could describe the emotion but I can’t put a name to it. My son graduated college yesterday. I took him to the zoo this morning. Although he’s been a couple times with friends, it’s the first time I’ve been to a zoo since he was 7 or 8.

Absolutely, graduation from a four-year college was his accomplishment; but as I was walking through the zoo with him today, it occurred to me that this was the first time in years I was able to spend time with my son that did not involve preparation for college entrance or work for the diploma. All the extracurricular events had some higher purpose besides just enjoying the moment. This was my first chance in a long time to be with him in the moment without the pressure of teaching, educating or learning. I didn’t have to read a placard — unless I wanted too.

When a relative asked me at the reception what my son planned to do post-graduation, I said this was like climbing the top of Mount Everest. There is so much preparation just getting to the start of the climb with the support team — let alone the climb itself. And I talked to more than one parent yesterday who (like me) had to talk their child off the edge of the cliff this past semester of senior thesis.

For today, we are just going to relish the view while we absorb the accomplishment. Tomorrow is plenty of time to plan the next mountain to climb.