Here we go again.
For those who have grown tired of this column space and the long-winded reflections (aka Mommy Musings) there is good news. The end is in sight.
That’s what I came to realize as I dropped my now sophomore off for Round-up late last week. With a car waiting for her in our driveway (thanks to her downsizing grandparents), my days of mommy uber are trickling down. Just the day before, her brother had done the same, driving himself as he attended his final Round-up event as he enters his senior year.
So this morning, as I think of my fellow “mommies” as we prepare for the 2022-23 school year to begin, it’s all just a bit overwhelming and unbelievable all at once.
To quickly circle back to where this column began, the realization I came to Monday morning was that while it’s definitely been a while since I’ve been called “mommy” the “musings” portion are also now fewer and far between. Evolution is a real thing in life and parenting.
Now the mother of a young man and teen girl (aka young lady) much of the funny and cute stories are behind us. Now memories which we giggle about on the rare occasion we land in the car together (all three of us) or during breakfast or dinner.
As I thought of the days to come, I couldn’t help but travel down a bit of memory lane and our car rides to and from school during their elementary days. Singing as we’d navigate the streets to drop off, always arriving with all three of us embracing in a family hug before they’d walk off to learn just a bit more. Pick-ups equally as fun, as one of them always seemed to bounce into the car with an energy and a story which was somehow more exciting than the last one.
So many wonderful memories.
They were indeed stolen moments; I now realize as I recognize not all are privy to this precious time with their children. My mom would be one of them, as she commuted from our Bay Area home to San Francisco each day making me the infamous “latch key kid” we once used to hear so much about. Since the day each of my children were born, I’ve felt fortunate to have been able to be present through so much of their school life, as well as activities.
Now, I’d say that’s even more so as the high school days are more about teaching them the lessons of independence as well as navigating with wisdom. It is indeed a different time to be a parent, as these “wise” youngsters navigate the world with “smart phones” and distractions which can be more harming than good.
Protecting them looks much different than it did when my mom faced this chapter.
As the days go on and they grow stronger and taller I continue to realize how equally important the lessons at home are versus the lessons at school. Simple things no longer covered on campus, like daily life costs and how to navigate a budget.
Some mommy friends have shared a philosophy of not burdening their children with such things. The expense of a vacation, car, auto insurance, the list goes on.
While I understand the idea of this, I equally realized the shortcoming of preparation as my youngest began inquiring on “what things cost” last summer. Suddenly aware that while I had not done this intentionally, I equally realized its importance. High school was straight ahead of her after all and we are not a family to pour out money for lunches every day.
Once on campus and following her friends to the freedom of lunch in town she quickly learned how far $20 could go on any given week.
Typing this, I can’t help but share I’m boring myself. Yet that’s the evolution of parenting. No longer beaming at a sweet painting grasped in their chubby little hands. The transition of cute, sweet moments to education and preparation.
If you’re lucky those once little people have already mastered some of the refined skills of proper manners, graciousness and kindness; it’s a good foundation. Now we focus on responsible driving, curfews and responsibility.
Oh, how I miss those paintings.
So here we go. As mentioned at the top, while I will remain a mom for the remainder of my days the once catchy “Mommy Musings” seems to be in its final chapter. My eyes well up as I type that. I pray I maintain the awareness to catch all those special days and moments which are now ahead of us. This life slows down for no one. While I may secretly wish I could just return to those exhausting days for a few moments in time, I’m equally excited for my duo to now see what life holds for them. What a wonderful ride it continues to be.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.