I dropped my 16 year old son off at Montfort Youth Retreat on Sunday. He has attended Montfort Boys Camp and now Montfort Youth Retreat since he was 11. That makes this his fifth year. I have never had a hard time with his absence. Well, I hadn’t had a hard time with it until this year. I don’t know why this year is different. I left him on Sunday with a sense of the bittersweet. The brothers who run the camp tell me he is nice young man. He knows most of the other boys at least by name, and they all know him. Of course not many people his age share his name, so he is known for his unique name. He also has curly, red hair that has sometimes been an afro. It is hard to miss.
He has sometimes been shy and unsure of himself. He has occasionally been self confident to the point of cocky. This year he seemed to me to be self assured but not cocky. He is serious, but not overly so.
I think this year he truly is a young man and not a boy. He is intelligent and articulate. He is a deep thinker. He was confirmed in April. He chose Augustine as his saint name. He embraces his faith and has chosen to be celibate. He tells me he chosen celibacy because there has been no shortage of offers from young women who either do not know to guard their chastity or do not care to do so. I enjoy his company most of the time. Perhaps that is why it was so difficult to drop him off this year.
I guess I just miss him.