Like a lot of folks with kids who have come of age alongside Harry Potter, last night was something of a bittersweet rite of passage. For the umpteenth time — but also for the final time — they carved their wands, grabbed their capes and glasses, and headed out to the midnight rendezvous with the other members of JK Rowling Nation. (Sometimes these gatherings have taken place at bookstores; at others, like last night’s, it was at the movie theatre.)
Muggle parenting is an inexact science, so when my oldest son made it clear that he expected to have permission to drive to and from the midnight movie with a half dozen others passengers, I recited my mantra, “Let me talk to your mother.”
He had, after all, recently graduated from high school and in a month, he’ll head off to university. But he hadn’t done a lot of late night driving on dark and winding country roads, and when he made his pitch to me, I couldn’t quite tell if I was listening to Dudley Dursley’s demanding a 23rd birthday present or hearing Harry’s simple yearning for the freedom to play quidditch.
When I heard the car on the gravel driveway at 3:30 am, it suddenly hit me that, like Harry, my son is moving on, even in the darkness, without me. I can only hope that Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore would approve.