There is this commercial they are playing right now, a lot: “You only get 18 summers with your kids, so make the most of them” or something like that.
It tugs at the heart, just like they want it to. The reason it makes you feel that way is because it’s true. My oldest daughter turned 19 last year, after we had moved her to college, and she’s living away this summer. She was home for 12 days at the start of summer, and will be back in time to have about 3 weeks with us in August, but the majority of the summer she’s away from us. After only 17 summers, really, since she was born in the fall. It is such a short time for me, looking back—and for her, it’s her whole life. It makes me want to cling to the two young women I still have living here (even as they start the inevitable pull away and “I can’t wait to move” mantras), but I know that won’t work. My life is entering a new season, a new cycle. Leaving the “mommy” phase and entering “My mother” phase. Where the adults will still need some advice from me, but tempered with their ever evolving friend groups, the new adults, the young people who feel so much kinship with these people in a way they never have before.
I remember that phase as a young adult. The rush of independence, combined with the nostalgia for what was “my childhood,” just a few short years for my parents.
It’s bittersweet from this angle, and makes me realize why my mother cried so much. I wouldn’t change it, and I am certainly happy that she is happy—but it’s a shift for me and my husband as well. Who we will become as parents of young adults and sometime not too far away, maybe grandparents. It’s time to continue my journey down this path and see where it takes me.
What about you? How did you handle your newest phase of life? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know.

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