Monday, November 17, 2008

Promises, Promises

Moms make lots of promises. We promise to save for our child’s college education while they’re young, and never miss a school play. We even make promises that are impossible to keep, like the time I promised my daughter she could kiss Joe Jonas on the cheek. But a promise I made recently feels real.

I promised to be present to my two oldest children for the next four years. They started high school last week. High School! I’m still having a problem even saying the word. It was OK to be a parent of teens when they were in middle school, but now they’re in high school. A place where kids are driving cars, having sex (even if their parents refuse to believe it) and planning for college.

In just four short years, my first two children will be gone. It’s a scary reality, particularly when I think about how fast the last 12 years passed. Four years is nothing. It’s a presidential term, the time between Olympic ceremonies. Jeez, by the time the Olympic torch is lit in London, my children won’t be on the couch watching the opening ceremonies with me. They might not even be in the same state if my son and daughter get into their first-choice colleges. So I want to spend the next four years relishing in every bit of physical and emotional growing they’ll experience. I want to understand their challenges as they study for exams, support them when they’re heartbroken, fell their fear when they drive for the first time, (I can definitely do this one!) and share in their happiness when they get a fat envelope from a college. (Fat envelopes signify a student has been accepted to a college.)

Sooner, rather than later, my children will leave home and take the journey that I’ve worked so hard to prepare them for. Then it will be their turn to deliver on the most important promise I made many years ago and prove to me that they have grown into healthy, happy and confident adults.

By Maria Bailey

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