Friday, August 17, 2012
Signing off: Reminders everywhere that change is ahead
Signs point to milestones.
Lately I've noticed many different signs in my life.
A few months ago, my youngest daughter, Madison, graduated from elementary school - a sign that she's not a little girl anymore.
A few weeks ago, both of my daughters got their ears pierced. This milestone in a young girl's life would have been enough to send me over the edge in the past. But my daughters have dutifully cleaned their earlobes morning, noon and night without a single reminder from me. This increased responsibility has me wondering when my kids stopped needing me.
My oldest daughter, Emma, has been reading signs, too.
Yield. Stop. Curve ahead. These are all road signs that have become her most recent focus; she's preparing to take her learner's permit test.
I've spent most of my time lately trying to ignore these signs. Sure, they're just road signs, but collectively they all add up to one big reminder that my daughter will soon be old enough to drive, and even closer to adulthood.
As expected, Emma has done her best to make that time closer. In the past few months, she's asked, begged and pleaded for me to let her get behind the wheel before taking her test. Of course, I've turned her down.
I've explained to Emma that I do not wish her to begin her driving career with a violation of the law. But I'll tell you a little secret - I'm hoping to put it off as long as possible. I'm just thankful that the law can back me up on this.
And just last week, I noticed another sign.
As I strolled through a local store, I spied pencils, notebooks and backpacks. As I perused the back-to-school items, I couldn't help but face the fact that another school year was beginning.
My kids will be attending middle and high schools, officially finished with elementary school. Emma will be attending a driver's education class at her school. It is inevitable.
I realized the time I had left with my kids before they left home, went to college and became adults was short.
My husband and I recently took the kids on a vacation to Gatlinburg, Tenn. For the five days we spent in a car together, my kids argued and asked constantly if we were "there yet."
On the final day of our vacation, we packed up the car and began the drive home. As we distanced ourselves from the Smoky Mountains, Emma began pointing out the road signs she knew. My son and other daughter began bickering over foot room in the back seat.
It was then that I remembered the most important part of any trip - the journey. And this was a journey I planned to enjoy, all the way to the end.
For more than five years, I have written a column centered on our family's journey and the fun we've had living near SML. I've decided it is time for this column to end. While I will enjoy getting to spend more time with my family, I will miss writing. I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life. Thank you.