I have conflicting emotions.

About 6:30 Saturday morning at Indianapolis International Airport — for the second time in just a couple of weeks — I will say goodbye to a son who is embarking on his new life.

Even though Tyler has a return flight from Los Angeles in a couple of weeks, his hope is to secure a job in the film industry and come home only to pack up and move to California.

Part of me wants that to be the case. I want him to find work and a home and begin living the life for which he has worked so long and so hard. I want him to be happy and to smile. I want him to connect with his fellow Full Sail graduates and embrace fellowship and creativity. I want him to again be with the people who understand him best.

And I want his life to get a little easier, because it’s been a long, hard road for him. I want all his dreams to come true.

Just the same, another part of me wants him to return home and find a job here. And — somehow — be happy with that.

But I know that won’t happen. His dreams are big and he’s shooting for the stars. He wants to create and have people accept him for the person he is. He wants to be respected and loved.

When Tyler was young, he would perform concerts for us. He would take a microphone and sing and dance and jump from a chair to the couch, and then to another chair. He was a star even then. He would photograph things in the world that meant something to him. He would write, and write, and write, producing newsletters and newspapers and filling tons and tons of notebooks with stories.

When he got a little older and the Internet became a common playground for young people, he found YouTube and a venue to display his digitized video creations. He found a following and learned to collaborate with others. He had found his passion. His love. His dream.

My heart is breaking.

Now, so many years older, he’s a young man of almost 23 ready to finally launch himself headlong into the world… a harsh world… but one where he hopes to find a creative outlet.

This is different than leaving Zachary in New York City to attend college. It’s also different than leaving Tyler in Florida for school.

This feels more permanent.

And it is more permanent.

Because he will be more than 2,000 miles away. I won’t be able to jump in a car and go help him out when he needs it. I won’t be able to walk to the other side of the house and see him. I won’t see him walk in the door and have him come and give me a hug. He won’t be there to hug goodnight. And I’ll miss him telling me, “I love you, Ma,” or Mama or Mommy, depending on his mood.

He’ll be so far away.

And his brother will be on the opposite coast.

Did I say yet that my heart is breaking?

I wish Tyler all the luck, love and happiness imaginable, because he deserves much more than I could ever wish for him.

I hope he can go to California and conquer the film industry.

But I hope he doesn’t forget us.

And comes home sometimes.

Did I already say my heart is breaking?

Oh, yeah. I guess I did.

<3