My youngest son just turned 16 the other day, and I spent a couple of hours that morning looking through old photos to create an album for him (well, really for me!) on Facebook. It was so sweet to go through 16 years worth of photos and remember all the things we’d done and places we’d lived.
Then just last night I was deleting pictures off my iPhone to make room for iOS8, and there were dozens of pictures that I couldn’t bring myself to delete: my boys sleeping on each other on the couch (at 15 and 16), our trip across country moving to Virginia, my tall dad kissing our even taller 17-year-old on his cheek, scoreboards from lacrosse games… You get the picture. *ahem*
We started doing college visits this summer, as one son will be leaving next summer and the other the summer after that. My heart hurts whenever I think of them leaving, but the visits were good for my soul. As I walked around the campuses listening to the students talk about what made their campus special, I could picture my boys being there, going to class, participating in sports, making friends. After those visits, I was excited for them more than I was sad for them to leave.
I think that all of our parenting stages have been like this. As excited as we are for them to get older and start doing new things, we are sad that they don’t do XYZ anymore. I remember our 2-year-olds saying the funniest things. (But then our teenagers say pretty funny things, too!) I just have to keep reminding myself that this is another parenting stage. Cycle of life and all that. But don’t be surprised if you catch me swiping through old photos on my iPhone as I hang on to my memories.
Karen Charney is FredParent’s webmaster. She’s also the proud mom of 2 really great teenage boys who won’t let her get an Instagram lest she post all the pictures from her phone…