The new school year is in full swing. My daughter is now a middle schooler and my son is a high schooler. Both of them have entered their new realms with enthusiasm. They were ready for new challenges and eager to move on to the next level of their education and social development. Looking at them, I can’t believe they are already at this stage. In my mind, I can instantly be transported back to their infancy, toddler years, or early elementary days. Those days truly don’t seem that long ago. Where did the time go? Really, where did it go?
I have never been a parent that wished for either of my children to hurry along a particular stage of childhood, no matter how difficult it may have seemed at the time. I have known many parents throughout the years to say how they couldn’t wait until their child got through the “terrible twos” or couldn’t wait until their child finally started school so they could have a life again. I am sure that deep down these parents weren’t wishing this time away, but merely wanting to get through a challenging period and on to one that wasn’t as taxing from a parenting standpoint.
I remember when my son was a baby, many friends and acquaintances would tell me to treasure each day because the years go by so fast. “In a blink of an eye, he will be going to college,” they would say. Of course, at the time I could hardly imagine that happening. I also felt a little annoyed each time I heard that, thinking these parents were exaggerating and had it wrong . I was immersed in the world of diapers, no sleep, and adjusting to my new role as mom. Now, as I begin the new phase of parenting a middle and high schooler, I realize these parents are right. I can see the time of being an empty nester right around the corner.
I know many friends and family members that have now joined the empty nester community. Some have handled the transition well, and others have had a difficult time. If parenting during the teenage years were particularly challenging, this time can be a welcomed change. I have heard some people say that God made teenagers with all their challenging ways and ideas to help prepare parents for the time when they leave the nest. Even though I am only in the early stages of the teenage years, I can see how that is true.
I admit, I cried like a baby when my son “graduated” from middle school. He had been at his school for twelve years (he started as a toddler at a Montessori school), and it was hard to imagine him not being there any longer. I can only imagine how hard it will be for me when he graduates from high school. My children (and husband) already tease me about how much of a mess I will be when that day arrives. So, bets are on that I will be in the camp of having a harder time when my “baby” leaves the nest.
Author Gretchen Rubin has a wonderful 2 minute video on her website (www.happiness-project.com) that captures the essence of my sentiments. I really love her books and all that she shares with the world. Check out the video, but make sure you have a tissue or two in hand– http://theyearsareshort.com. After watching, I am sure you will definitely understand what I am feeling (if you didn’t already) and possibly shift your perspective and attitude towards parenting. Hold on and cherish each moment. It is such a short time.
I have two special announcements…
-Freckles, the main character in my books, now has a Facebook page! I invite you to check it out– http://www.facebook.com/funwithfreckles.
Also, FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue will soon be available as an eBook! I am so excited! I will keep everyone posted!
What we are reading:
Me: Five Lessons- The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan (hoping it will help!)
My son: The Rush for Gold by John Feinstein
My daughter: Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep by Liz Kessler