On sending my son off to college

After my parents’ divorce, when I was 4, I spent weekends with my dad, before we finally moved to California. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was incapable of enjoying the day’s activities, of being in the moment, because I was already dreading the inevitable good­bye of Sunday evening. Trips to the mall, miniature golf, or movies had me in a foggy, lump-throated daze long before my dad would drop me home and drive away.

Now, standing among the accumulation of the life of a little boy he no longer is, I look at my own young doppelgänger and realize: it’s me who has become a boy again. All my heavy-chested sadness, loss and longing to hold on to things as they used to be are back, sweeping over me as they did when I was a child.

In front of Matthew I’m doing some of the best acting of my ca­reer. I’ve said before that the common perception that all good actors should be good liars is exactly the opposite; only bad actors lie when they act. But now I’m using the tricks of every hack and presenting a dishonest front to my son and wife. To my surprise, it appears to be working. I smile like a jack-o’-lantern and affect a breezy, casual man­ner. Positive sentences only and nothing but enthusiasm framing my answers to Matthew’s questions.