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About a week before my eldest child went to college, my family and I took him out for Sunday lunch. During the meal, one of his grandmothers asked me if I wished I could turn back time. My eldest sat beside me with his back straight, looking down at his plate. “Don’t you wish he were little again?” she said. “Sitting in a patch of sunshine in the yard, playing with Legos?” The other grandmother asked the same question with a different phrasing. “Remember the sweetness of those early years? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go back?”
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Their words, although well-intentioned, wrung the nostalgia right out of me. No, I said. I didn’t want to go back in time. I loved being at home with my kids when they were little, but now, I said, I was eager to see what was ahead for my son. Of course, I was also trying to signal something to him that day while answering their questions; I wanted him to know it was all right with me that he was growing up and moving on. Still, I felt like I was breaking a classic, unwritten rule of having a high school senior: Parents are supposed to be sentimental and even fraught, full of regret and given to ponderous rumination about their children growing up.
Parenthood - Offers - Lessons - Patience - Sacrifice
“Parenthood offers many lessons in patience and sacrifice,” columnist Michael Gerson writes in a beautiful piece about his son’s departure for college. “But ultimately, it is a lesson in humility. The very best thing about your life is a short stage in someone else’s story.”
When I first read Gerson’s words, they shot a dart into my heart. But on further...
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