Accepting My Kids Are Getting Older

Accepting My Kids Are Getting Older
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Accepting My Kids Are Getting Older

Several weeks ago while I was hanging out with my older son, when he blurted out “I can’t wait to start driving, so I don’t have to depend on you anymore.”

It took a while for this to sink in. He’s only 13, already taller than me (I’m not short), a little too interested in girls, and seems to have skipped the tween years, blossoming into a full-blown teen from ages 12 to 13.

I was just getting used to the fact that he had graduated from the back seat and could sit next to me in the car’s front seat, and now this?!

My heart dropped a bit. I mean, the rides to school, to his sporting practices and events, and all his friends and weekend activities, that’s our time together. That’s the little time we chat, for me to catch up with him, for us to be in one another’s presence.

And now, in a few short years, he will be driving and those moments in the car will become few and far between, and I will be left stressing about where he’s going and when he’s coming back.

This is just one of the natural progressions (my kid seems to be going faster than usual) that is part of coming of age, and it’s all normal, right? I wouldn’t want the opposite.

I had a similar epiphany with my younger son, who’s 9 years old. I took him and a friend to a new children’s attraction with an experiential element and a changing theme. The theme for the visit at CAMP was “The Little Mermaid.” Both of them were unenthusiastic about such a juvenile activity. Yet, it was hard to peel them away as they ran about the fantasy underwater theme going up and down the slides and interactive stations, and carefully checking off each box of an elaborate scavenger hunt.

I looked upon the stroller-pushing moms with a bit of nostalgia – I have been there, am no longer there, and soon my 9-year-old will age out of these children’s attractions.

The combination of feeling like I’m being needed less, and being aware of the dwindling little-kid attraction opportunities – it’s a lot to take in.

So I decided rather than lament about something so natural and right – it’s time to embrace this newfound stage in life. THIS is the time to get back on that workout routine (and take it seriously), take some online courses to enhance my resume, start writing more, and rediscover lost hobbies and interests.

It’s hard to believe I’m at this stage, but I’m learning to embrace it – and take it one day at a time.

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Dana is a working mom of two active boys, ages 4 and 8. She was born in Tel Aviv and raised in Atlanta. With a background in journalism, she spent 12 years chasing deadlines as a news and documentary producer, writer, international news desk editor, and web editor.  After the birth of her first child, it became obvious she was not going to be the next Katie Couric or Christiane Amanpour. She was still dedicated, but the only thing gained from the grueling weekend and overnight shifts was a case of gastritis. She remembers being "so busy" she could not step away for lunch/dinner/breakfast and would have to shove the food down while hovering over her computer. The disgusting crumbs piling up in the keyboard were hers. As luck would have it, another round of layoffs was near and she seized the opportunity (having survived a few layoffs before). Several months into her severance she was fortunate to find a job in PR and Communications, promoting a subject that felt like a natural fit.   The most important lesson she's learned since becoming a mom is: NEVER say never. "I will NEVER shop at Costco, drive a car with a carpool number, become a 'soccer' mom, live near my parents in a house in the suburbs."  She now does all those things and more she never thought she would with the utmost feeling of gratitude. 

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