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Changes And Challenges
Teresa Hammond mug 3
Teresa Hammond

Everything is starting to look different around here.

As parents, we know the time will come – the changes, the growth, maturity. I’m not sure I was or am completely prepared for the subtle changes as they sneak up on me.

First there’s the physical element of having two once “little” people now inch past me in height. My 12-year-old is just three inches shy of passing her 5’10” mother. Her brother is a towering 5’11” at 15 with many years of growth still ahead of him.

Gone are the days of me being able to help them with their hair as they stand in front of me. Sight of the top of their heads now only possible if they take a seat. This simple fact is something which escapes me each and every time I go to check their hair part or even attempt to kiss them on the head.

Then last week, as I looked ahead to their busy Roundup and orientation days at both the junior high as well as high school it hit me – no more class lists. For the first year in 11 years traveling to Magnolia Elementary School this afternoon (Wednesday, Aug. 7) is no longer necessary. While I was never one to request a teacher, that period is also gone. Our elementary chapter is undoubtedly closed.

Now obviously I knew this at the end of the 2018-19 school year, yet somehow it feels a bit different as the new school year begins and all that was once familiar is no longer there. Life facts just seem to be catching me a bit off guard these days.

Point in fact would be driving my son to Roundup last week and acknowledging that it could very conceivably be my last year of driving him to Roundup, as well as the first day of school (which is Thursday, Aug. 8 this year). As an older freshman, he will turn 16 before the start of his sophomore year in 2020. Again, I’m not ready.

The peace and pride of course comes in knowing I’m raising children who are indeed ready and not just ready, as in prepared, but actually excited for their new chapters. Isn’t that wonderful (insert winky face here).

It’s also a time of trying to recall what life was like as a tween and preteen, so much change. Both of my children could be described as old souls, yet not mature beyond their years, they’ve maintained some innocence. In the day and age of everything instant and look at me here, look at me now, look at me, look at me – that can be tough.

They don’t have social media, only one has a phone (by necessity) and he has to work at chores to cover the expense. In short, easy street doesn’t pass by, through or even within a mile of our home. Granted, their lives are a bit easier than mine was at their age, but that’s the goal of most parents right?

So as tomorrow marks the truest beginning of our entry into the next chapter, I’m going to do my best to really take it all in and keep my eyes as dry as possible. After all, we only get to share the every day life with them for a very limited amount of time. Then, well, then they are off to open their wings and fly as they should. Lord, how will I handle that moment?

The answer: I have no clue.

What I do know is, I cherish these memories. I’m grateful for the lessons we continue to learn together and I’m excited to see just what they make of this next go round in this (not so simple) game of life. Happy back to school!


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.