This September issue marks the 14th anniversary of Ann Arbor Parent, and the 19th anniversary of the birth of Ann Arbor Family’s sister publication, Toledo Area Parent. It sounds like a long time. But at the same time, it seems like no time since my children were the little ones they were when we started publishing out of our home back in 1992. This summer has been one of my worst — and one of the best. I cried at Margot’s high school graduation ceremony — though this didn’t surprise me too much, since I’d done the same thing at my older son Alex’s graduation three years ago.
How could he be graduating, I thought, when I only just put him on the bus for kindergarten?! My middle son, Saul, skipped the whole high school graduation thing (which was not unexpected and so typical of him) so I was spared the tears that summer and I still had Margot at home. But when it was Margot’s turn it was especially hard. Her friend’s parents came up to me after the ceremony to console me and tell me how painful it was to watch me cry throughout the whole ceremony. Of course, that only made me cry some more.
My life was so busy leading up to those graduations that it didn’t dawn on me that this was a close to a very special chapter in each of our lives and, especially, my role as their mother.
Alex and Saul moved to Seattle to attend school and Margot is taking a “gap” year to travel and volunteer before she heads off to school.
I was so lucky to have all three of them home for almost two months this summer — in many ways it was the best summer ever. They were definitely getting antsy at the end of their stay, but I insisted they stick around until my family reunion in southwestern Ohio, after which they would be free to go on their way.
When we said goodbye to Saul and Margot as they left for their road trip across America and then put Alex on a plane to Israel, it all hit me again, and again I cried on the long drive home. After an hour or so, I calmed down enough to drive while my husband, Mark, napped and I fiddled with the radio station. I stumbled across Trace Adkins’ country ballad “You’re Gonna Miss This,” and started to cry all over again.
My husband reminds me that our goal was to raise independent, confident children. We accomplished that. But it still hurts coming home to find that our house that was so full of life — kids coming and going, finding kids sleeping on our sofas some mornings, the washer and dryer active at all times, shoes kicked off in the hallway, hockey and lacrosse equipment strewn about — is now quiet and tidy and the same way we left it each morning.
Each stage of childhood is different and presents its own parenting challenges, but I will tell you to try your hardest to slow down and enjoy it, because the words to that song are true — you’re gonna miss this, you’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast, these were some good times.
And they were.