Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Some parents—like me—have this misguided notion that everything will always be the same and that the kids will always be there to celebrate holidays, good times, and everything in between.  But as my kids get older—almost 18 and 13—I’m finding that, just like they are supposed to, they are enjoying making their own connections and traditions and branching out on their own.

Every year, we get together with another family whose oldest is my oldest child’s best friend; they also have a son, who although more than three years older than mine, will always watch a game or play with Barbieri child #2.  This year, the girls had two different parties to attend, one right on the same street and another in town that they had to drive to.  My friend’s daughter was dressed to the nines in gorgeous ankle-strap black suede pumps while my daughter went for a more casual look.  One came home early, the other late, but both had reveled with their own friends and didn’t kiss their parents at the stroke of midnight.

I am working hard to adjust to this change.  I used to scoff at people who would coo over one of my adorable children, still a baby, and say, “Enjoy it now.  It goes really fast,” meaning that in the blink of an eye, your baby would be all grown up and ready to fly the coop. I would laugh.  What did these people know?

Everything, apparently.

I told my husband that I am now the person doing the cooing and telling people to enjoy their babies now because before they know it, they’ll be off on their own, living their own lives.  And the people I tell this to look at me like I’m crazy.

I once heard it said that when raising children, and particularly when caring for babies, “the days are long but the years fly by.”  A truer statement has never been uttered.  As you trod the floor at night with a screaming baby, it seems like that night will never end but just when you think you have this sleeping thing nailed down, the kid is up all night again, but for a different reason:  they are a teenager and teenagers like to stay up late.  Granted, there’s no crying anymore, hopefully, but you’re still up and you’re still worried, especially if they are not home.

I am loathe to make New Year’s resolutions but this year, with a daughter going to college in the fall—the longest stint of sleepaway camp known to parents—I’m going to try to remain focused on the present, enjoying every bit of the time we have together, not focused on what will happen in the future.  I know that once she leaves here and experiences the world beyond the doors of our little Village colonial, her eyes will be opened to all the great things she can accomplish.  And as Martha would say, “And that’s a good thing.”

Maggie Barbieri


  1. "The longest stint of sleepaway camp known to parents."

    Okay, that got me all teary-eyed...

    I get this completely. I've got 17 and 13 and I wish I could go back even for a little while. Not to change anything, but simply to soak it all in one more time.


  2. Ah, Maggie! I know what you're starting to go through. My youngest went off to college last fall. I have to admit to shedding more than a few tears ;)

  3. Enjoy these next few months. We genuinely miss our kids when they head off to the next stage of their lives -- whether it's college or moving into the city into their own apartments and starting the grownup phase of their lives.

    But I promise they come home and visit. As Mark Twain pointed out, it's as adults they realize that we're pretty interesting too :-)


  4. Laura, you can join me in living in the moment. It goes so fast, it's making my head spin.

    Maria, I'll be crying to you come end of August. Be read.

    You, too, Evelyn. I doubt anyone in this family, besides hubby of course, will ever find my interesting, but I'll trust you on this one. Maggiexo

  5. And here I am, coming late to the mommy crowd, having a baby this June! I'm looking forward to every bit of it (okay, some stuff more than others!). And I will do my best to treasure every moment, maybe easier to do now at this stage of my life than it would have been at any other. :-)

  6. And they'll always be your children, and you'll be the Mom. If any of you have a copy of The Prophet (the Bible of the Seventies), he cautions us to treat our children as birds, training to fly on their own. Very moving. I don't have my copy any more. I will say get all the cuddle time you can, because time does fly! And Susan, there are some studies done that say older mothers often don't have the other stressors of life so that makes it easier to handle their babies. and you are much wiser :)

  7. Mine all left the nest long ago, but I've had grandkids living with me off an on ever since. Raised one from age 11 to 22, had others from various lengths of time. We have a big house, live in a place where it's fairly easy to stay out of trouble with a terrific K through 8 school.

    At the moment we have a 40 plus son with us who is fixing up our next-door rental to live in. So don't worry, you might not be alone as long as you think.

  8. All true - although these days there is also the possibility that with house prices being as they are that they'll come back again, like mine have. That aside, as for New Years Resolutions, someone suggested micro resolutions which are a bit more doable - one thing for each of the twelve months - something worth thinking about.

  9. Lil, I think those studies are right! At least as far as I'm concerned! I feel like now is the best time in my life for this baby, for sure. :-)