They Grow Up So Fast!

Drop off a kid at college, remember all the years before

This mom just dropped son No. 1 off at college for his second year, and while there were no tears this time from me (at least not in front of the crowd), there was and is the profound parental feeling that time is moving so quickly just when you want it to slow down.

(Is there some magic button we can push to fix that? Or to speed it up, as the case may be?)

Son No. 2 is now applying to college. Both young men are dating, shaving, driving. Both sons can make their own meals (when the mood strikes), wash their own clothes (when Mom doesn’t), and drive off into the sunset if they so choose, with every warning ringing in their brains from their parents (you know the drill).

They can drive off into the sunset if they so choose.

Both sons can think for themselves. Both sons will be voting in the presidential election in 2016.

Home from the successful college drop off, I share a few thoughts about the rush of time with my neighbor down the street. Her kids are still in elementary school. We’re in her living room. Her kids seem so small.

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She looks at her fourth grader, a son. “I can’t imagine,” she says, and her voice drifts off.

A knowing smile. “I was in your shoes just the other day,” I say.

Just the other day, my first son was starting kindergarten and getting on the bus all by himself for the first ride to school. He was so thrilled and proud, beaming at his accomplishment.

Just the other day, my second son was born, and when we got home from the hospital he looked so tiny next to his big brother who was not yet two. He smiled at almost everything (still does).

Related: A Firstborn Leaves for College

Just the other day, I was a young mother dashing around and handling feedings, changings, naps, park outings and you name it. Made sure they ate their vegetables (when they didn’t throw them on the floor). Made sure they went to camp, packed up their toys from Grandma’s house (there were always a few left behind) and got to their sports practice (and prayed no one got hurt). On and on it went. And still does.

No mother, no father, ever really stops.

Even with all the busyness, though, none of it was a hassle. Truly.

We’re remiss if we don’t cherish every second. Oh, we know all that, and let’s not get too mushy about it, but when we’re struggling to get dinner on the table, buy clothes, get the kids to school and pay all the bills, these golden times don’t always smack us in the face.

“The days can be long but the years fly.” Remember that saying? Every parent dropping a kid off at school right about now knows that truth.

Let’s enjoy every second of our kids’ presence, their growth, their goodness, their availability. Soon they’ll be young men and young women making their own way in the world and we’ll be waiting for their phone call inviting us to dinner for a few precious hours or to see the grandkids. But let’s not rush that just yet.

meet the author

Maureen Mackey served as editor-in-chief and managing editor of LifeZette for nearly five years. Before that, she held senior editorial positions at major publications, helping The Fiscal Times win a MIN Award for Best New Site as managing editor and Reader's Digest win an American Society of Magazine Editors Award for General Excellence as book editor. Her work has appeared in Real Clear Politics, CNBC, A Fine Line, AARP Magazine, Yahoo Finance, MSN, Business Insider, and The Week, among other outlets. She is a member of the Newswomen's Club of New York and the American Legion Auxiliary.

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