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There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way.-Christopher Morley
They're Growing Up
By David
Posted September 8, 2009

I suppose that as different as people are, all parents share some common experiences. Most experience the joy of a child's birth, the hardship of the day-to-day caring for infants, the inner conflict of letting go when the child first starts a school program, be it pre-k, kindergarten, or first grade, etc., the dread felt when seeing your child bleeding from a scraped knee, and much more. Some of those experiences evoke minor feelings, and some are more substantial. Of course, some parents deal with the enormous pain of their child experiencing a major hardship.

While emotionally trying for parents, most of those experiences are just elements in the natural progression of life. A child is born, a child grows up... You already know the story.

This morning we awoke at 6am to begin the back-to-school routine. We scrambled to make sure that the children were fed, washed, and dressed, preferably without getting toothpaste on their clean shirts. At the same time, we made sure that the same was true for the parents. At that time of the morning, the clock ticks much faster than later in the day, and by the time the kids are dropped off at school, it feels like an abrupt quiet after the storm. Once again, mission accomplished. We can breathe a sigh of relief, and start the work day.

But today was different. It was the first day of school, signaling that yet another year has begun to unfold with its share of pride and challenges, homework and projects, tests and reading assignments, school volunteering and various parent appearances.

Today also had another aspect to it. I noticed that the children are advancing, and the morning rush was easier than usual, as they are now more independent, and more capable of getting themselves ready for school. I felt both happy and a little sad as the car left our garage and they were driven to school by my wife. The children are growing up, which is great, yet as they do, I feel an increasing sense of concern for them.

Tick Tock
Tick Tock

My mother once said "Little children: Little problems. Big children: Big problems." She is a wise lady and she was, of course, right about that.

My children now face the same challenges that we all face. The expectations of them are greater, the challenges tougher, the competition more fierce, and the stakes higher than ever before. There are social issues, economic issues, political issues, and other issues that surround them and their classmates, and they are surprisingly acutely aware of them all. So, we do our best to reassure them that they have the tools to succeed if they work hard, and that the good always wins over the bad. We’ve decided that at their age, it's important for them to have a sense of assurance. There's plenty of time for them to learn that the good doesn’t always prevail, but that’s a discussion for another post.

Today, though, I was overcome with a sense of the passage of time. The children are growing up, and maybe after all, I felt a tinge of sadness knowing that they will quickly transition from being innocent young children who run to their parents for hugs and kisses and enjoy laughing out loud. It occurred to me that with all the hardship of parenting, there are so many nice aspects to having young children, and that soon enough there will come a day that this window in time will close and what is true today will become just an old memory like so many other milestones in our lives.

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Double Triangle is my personal blog and is mostly about family life in the Los Angeles area. It also serves to record some of my thoughts in a format that can be easily accessed by my family and friends, as well as by anyone else who cares to read it.

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