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Is This Really the End?

Momservation: Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ~Dr. Seuss

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So here’s the deal. Let’s just admit that we aren’t who we were when this all started.

Last Mom’s Weekend for me and my Boise State 2022 graduate. It went so fast

We’ve grown, we’ve changed. TikTok was invented.

We want different things. I want different things. It’s not you, it’s me.

Okay, I’m seeing someone else.

Can we still be friends?

We’ve been through a lot together. We first met when I began writing this family column 18 years ago—then called “Mommy Tales.” We were so young. My oldest was only four and my youngest was three. Twitter wasn’t even invented yet.

We connected over the struggles of raising kids who wouldn’t end up on Dr. Phil’s couch, pointing at us as where it all went wrong. We actually thought what preschool our kids went to would open the doors to Harvard (actually, that was you). We cried when our kids didn’t get into AM Kindergarten (that was me).

The days were long and the years were short. We were wrapped up with carpools, soccer practice, chaperoning field trips, color-coded calendars, swim team, reading logs, school talent shows and auctions, birthday parties. So. Many. Birthday. Parties.

We learned to humble brag about our kids. We launched our helicopters, hovering overprotectively over our kids. We decided rec soccer was too easy—on our calendars, on our wallets, on our time. Some Tooth Fairy was giving $5 a tooth and Santa was bringing iPod Touches and iPhones, really putting the heat on us.

Sure, there were good times. Watching our kids make best friends. Seeing them discover their talents. Dinner table comedians, Game Nights, backyard games of Man Tracker, first place finishes, too many hours of proud camcorder videos taken, Little League homeruns, bedtime stories and kisses, Christmas morning.

And then came the days that made us long for the easier times like newborn sleepless nights, potty training, worrying our kid was the bark throwing bully or playgroup biter: The preteen and teen years. And lucky us! It coincided with the iPhone in every hand and dawn of social media. In the hormone raging hands of undeveloped brains, it was a nightmare. Suddenly we were monitoring Instagram posts, SnapChats (how??), breaking Photo Vault codes to check for Nudes. Cyberbullying and school shooting drills had been invented.

It was a seesaw of good and bad. Getting asked to Homecoming. Not getting a Promposal. Learning how to drive and growing independence. Terrified until they walked back in the door. Dances and football games and laughing teenagers in the backyard pool. Sneaking out, sneaking drinks, constantly worried one bad decision would irrevocably change their lives. So proud watching them blossom into themselves. First kiss, first love, first heartbreak.

And then, the beginning of the end. Our kids started graduating—what would hold us together now that they were gone? To college, to the military, to live on their own, to be adults emptying our nests. Sure, we held onto each other for awhile in this communal trauma of being designated for resignment, scared of going back out into our lives before me met, before we had kids.

But now that we see the kids are okay (graduating college!!), flourishing, happy even…we’ve been drifting apart. I have new interests; you have new interests. We’ve reconnected with old loves we knew back before kids, when we had all that time. Let’s face it: we’ve changed. You don’t need a family columnist/blogger anymore to guide you through this. I want to go back to writing fiction.

So, I think it’s time to say goodbye before anyone gets hurt. Before you admit things have actually gotten stale—that you really do prefer watching vlogs and listening to podcasts and only listen to books on tape now. Before you finally get frustrated and comment: TLDR (too long didn’t read). Or worse, just keep scrolling.

I’ll admit it: I like TikTok and Reels too. But I can’t change for you. I don’t want to be a social media entertainer. I’m not good at being brief.

I’m a writer, a storyteller. I’ve always dreamed of writing a novel that could end up on the New York Time’s Best Seller List. (Or now that Amazon and Audible have been invented, I want to be trending.) We’ve always told our kids to shoot for the moon and if you miss, you’ll land in the stars. Now, I want to devote my time to that. Not stay stagnant in what we had. But move forward toward what could be.

It’s been great. You’re great. Thanks for reading all these years. I mean that.

If you still think of me now and again, check back into to see what I’m up to (writing for Maria Shriver’s The Sunday Paper) or to read a favorite old blog or two. You could even buy my book, DON’T FORGET YOUR LUNCH, DIAPERS TO DIPLOMA PARENTING WISDOM, if you still want to keep a piece of me around like old love letters.

I’ll never forget you. I hope we can still be friends. (And you’ll buy my novel, I GO, YOU GO when it’s published.)

#NewChapter #Literally #ChangeIsGood #I’llAlwaysLoveYou #EmptyNester

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