The Best Man

Today I put my son on an airplane, bound eventually for the Netherlands.

In the strictest sense of the word, I guess that's a misnomer. "Putting my son on an airplane" implies that I'm paying the freight, that the flight attendants will babysit him in the air and that a grownup responsible adult will be on the other end waiting for him.

He's 25.

Heading into his second year of medical school, Scott did the due diligence and learned that for med students, this summer after the first year is your last shot at anything resembling life flexibility. He equated the first year to drinking from a fire hose. The pressure will only exacerbate.

So he found a paying gig working on a diabetes-related research project in Amsterdam. Earlier this summer he had a similar project involving arthritis research in Kansas City.

My son is a man of the world. Literally. He's been all over the United States, to China and Central America. Now Europe.

Scott's decision as an undergrad to pursue medical school was a big transition. Motivated by altruism and philanthropy, my son is like many of his generation. He's a global thinker. He knows one person can make a difference in the lives of others.

Scott is also really good at sizing up systems and structures and determining how to work them to meet his needs. Wonder where he got that?

He grew up before my very eyes.

Life is a series of cyclical transitions. We move from day to day. We mow the lawn, we go to work, we watch the fireworks on the 4th of July.

And then we do it again. The circle of life.

Only when you climb up high enough -- to glimpse the view from 100-thousand feet -- can you see and better appreciate what changes these transitions have wrought.

Then you can see the circles moving forward.

Scott was my best man when I married Jackie. At 13, he was nervous as he toasted the bride and groom. "Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking..."

I am filled with love, pride, admiration and respect for my son. These are his salad days and he's making the most of them. He'll spend the next four weekends bopping around Europe.

In three short years, he'll finish med school. Then comes residency, which could take him anywhere in the country, maybe on the planet.

When referring to my son, I often say, "Just yesterday, he was eight years old." It's time to retire that one.

My son is in med school. He's smart and he cares about people.

Transition.

Circles moving forward.