Early one morning this week, our daughter, Rachel, was preparing to catch the school bus. We chatted as she searched for her shoes and scrounged in the refrigerator for an orange. She casually mentioned that her backpack was awfully heavy.
Fire up the grill and ice down the beer. It's Labor Day weekend, that clear division between summer and fall. It's time for one last day on the beach or by the pool.
My father was killed in a car wreck in 1980. Though I've lived over half my life without him, one thing I've learned is that a daddy's girl never stops missing her daddy.
Next Monday heralds my 19th first day of school as a parent. It never gets old. It's always a morning that crackles with promise and anticipation.
Earlier this week I went out on a mission to find the perfect dress. I have a dinner to attend in a few weeks and it's not the sort of soiree where my usual polo shirt and jeans attire will do. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to wear. All I had to do was find it. Three hours and four department stores later, the planets aligned, the clouds parted and I spotted exactly what I needed.
When I read about Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old California girl who attempted to become the youngest person to ever circumnavigate the globe alone in a sailboat, my first thoughts were of Jessica Dubroff.
I think if our daughter, Molly, were to meet Anne Bruscino, they'd be instant friends. They certainly have a lot in common.
If I had to define my role as "parent," one of the first subsections would be "teacher." My children's educations don't begin and end at the schoolhouse door. Every day has been an amalgam of teaching moments.
Every May, I wait for the call, but so far it hasn't come. What call, you ask? The call to give the commencement address at one, any, of my alma maters, of course.
In the summer of 2003, we packed up our 17-year-old daughter, Molly, and drove her to Valdosta. She was to spend the next six weeks participating in the Governor's Honors Program.
You may have heard of Lenore Skenazy. She's the Queens, N.Y., mom who allowed her 9-year-old son to ride home alone via subway and bus. She wrote about it in her column in the now defunct New York Sun.
Last week, a woman brought her three children into my resale clothing store to shop for spring clothes. Her middle school-aged son picked out a stack of short-sleeved shirts with tropical patterns.
I didn't find Sparky. He found me.
For many of us, parenting is uncharted territory. I was an only child of only children. I had no brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts or first cousins. I played with books, not dolls.
When our daughter, Molly, was about 14, we started allowing her to meet up with her friends at the movies. We would drop her off and pick her up. She'd have a couple of hours of freedom from parental scrutiny, a precious commodity to a new teenager.
Over time, I've fallen into a morning routine that has become invariable. I wake up, feed the animals, make coffee, read the headlines on gainesvilletimes.com and then log on to Facebook.
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