I published an article in the On Parenting section of the The Washington Post today. The article, Summer is the remind that they really do grow up, discusses the process of coming to terms with children developing their own lives and personalities.
A few weeks ago, I chaperoned my 7-year-old daughter’s end-of-the-year field trip to the beach. These outings are often a stressful time for all but the children — teachers and parent volunteers are inevitably running after kids who insist on wandering and getting wet, all the while worrying about losing one to a crashing wave as the children inch ever closer to the seagulls doing a delicate dance on the rock wall.
But it means a lot to my daughter, so I go. These days are a window into her world, an insight I recognize I will have less and less of as she grows out of being a little kid and becomes a person I know and love, but whose path I don’t define. The end of the school year and the change of seasons always bring with them an air of celebration and the lightness of approaching long days. But this time is also a reminder of the quickness with which the days of childhood, sometimes wished away amid the exhaustion and demands of the quotidian, pass us by. Suddenly my eldest is approaching second grade, and my youngest has completed her first year of preschool. On days like the beach trip I pause and gasp at the changes in my children, at the small ways they are evolving into the people they are meant to be.