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Rob Lowe Can't Stop Crying In Touching Essay About Son

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Rob Lowe's emotional essay about sending his son, Matthew, off to college is a touching read about a father watching his child grow into an adult. Actor Rob Lowe initially published the essay in his memoir Love Life, which came out in April. An excerpt was adapted for Slate, as a end-of-the-school-year read. At the time, Lowe was still working on NBC's Parks and Recreation. Titled "Unprepared," the letter begins with emotion.

I'm trying to remember when I felt like this before. Like an el­ephant is sitting on my chest, like my throat is so tight and constricted that I can feel its tendons, like my eyes are 100 percent water, spilling out at will, down pathways on my face that have been dry for as long as I can think of. I'm trying to remember: When was the last time my heart was breaking?

Lowe recalls the day his mother died and when he had to move from Malibu to Ohio to stay with his father, forcing him to say goodbye to his first girlfriend. He remembers his parents' divorce. Yet somehow, he finds himself "emotionally blindsided" and unable to stop crying on Matthew's last night at their home before he takes off for college. He knows Matthew's going to a good school, and it isn't as though he'd seeing him off to war, so he admits feeling a bit embarrassed by all his sobbing—he even imagined he's humiliating the dog.

Lowe rifles through his memories of his own life—Lowe didn't go to college, but rather acted in his first movie at only 17—as he recalls moving his son into his dorm.

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I’m surprised at how little we say to each other, and how good that feels. There is nothing we are withholding and I know that our "being current" with each other, as the shrinks would say, is a result of years spent in each other’s company. Not just dinner or good-nights or drop-offs; it’s time coaching his teams, being in the stands, on fishing boats, in the water surfing or diving, watching stupid television, being home on nights when he is with his friends and talking smack with them, standing up to and getting in the face of teachers, parents, other kids or anyone who so much as thought about treating him badly. We put in the time together; we built this thing we have of com­fort and love. And now, as we both prepare to let go of each other, it is paying off. That evening, even though his dorm room is ready he says, "Dad, I think I’ll just stay with you and Mom tonight." I catch Sheryl’s eye; this time, it’s hers that are moist.

Lowe has been married to his current wife, Sheryl Berkoff, since July 1991. They have two sons, Matthew, now 22, and Johnowen, now 20. Read the entire essay here.