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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Unsettled, indeed

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There's talk of unpredictable conditions, of changing environments in the days ahead.  More than once the term "unsettled" is being used to describe what's going on.

And then there's the weather, too.

A father watches his youngest graduate from college over the weekend.   His face is sore from smiling.  His eyes are red from...allergies.  Yeah.  That's it.  Allergies.

A steady stream of advice poured forth from the BMO Harris Bradley Center podium Sunday morning, comedian Bill Cosby getting the biggest laugh from the Marquette moms and dads with his joke about getting into heaven.   It was getting crowded beyond the pearly gates, Cosby said, to the point where the only way new applicants could get in was to ask a question that God couldn't answer.  Two geniuses couldn't stump the Almighty, but a mom  and dad did with the simple query: when will my kid get his act together?

This dad is blessed with two very-together newly minted young adults who are talented big thinkers.  They make solid choices.  They're good people.  They're also best friends, which is probably the biggest accomplishment the father takes away from all those years under the same roof.   You two, we often told them, share something you share with no one else.  You two need to be buds, to have each other's backs.   It's okay to argue and disagree, we reminded them, but at the end of the day you have to celebrate your unique relationship and use it to your advantage. 

The lesson took.

The father tries wrapping his head around the new reality, with two grown children and and an officially empty nest.  The daughter is established in a profession, about to celebrate her first year of marriage.  The son is cobbling together an existence with a pair of jobs he's passionate about while the parents tip their hat to Obamacare, at least the part about keeping your kid on your health insurance until 26.  There's a future to craft, a dream to fulfill, a life to live.  And so many questions

There was only a small post-graduation family gathering Sunday and soon the house was empty as afternoon morphed into evening.    Rain threatened, and the lawn needed cutting.   The father did the duty, interrupted late in his task by the neighbor boy, Frank, who can't be more than three or four.  He dashed into the front yard to warn me that storms were coming--big ones, he said.   Frank had on what looked to be his PJ's--it was dusk, and I'm guessing his bed time was near.  He looked all the world like another little boy who I remember dressed very much the same way some two decades ago, one who that very same afternoon had walked across a stage, shook important hands, and clasped his diploma before starting his future as an adult.  Ahead lie unpredictable conditions and changing environments, both for him and the proud father with the face that's sore from smiling and the eyes that are red from, well, you know.

Unsettled, indeed.


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