And Then He's Eleven

As my son approached his eleventh birthday, I found myself sounding like those women who used to stop me on the street as I was walking with my newborn so many years ago: “Oh, sweetheart, what a beautiful baby! It goes by so quickly. Soak in every minute of it. I can still remember when my boys learned to walk like it was yesterday…”

Yes, it does go by quickly. One evening this summer, as the four of us took an after-dinner walk, I looked at my older son, whose head now reaches my chin, and asked my husband, “When do you think he’ll be taller than me?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe two summers. But maybe  next year.”

Each birthday brings an acute awareness of the passage of time. Then the memories tumble in, as they always do on the threshold of a transition.

I see him as a … Click here to continue reading...

Kindergarten: A Glimpse Of Empty Nest?

Natalie and I met in the comments section of one of my posts on MariaShriver.com, where she mentioned her work with empty nest. It’s so rare that I meet other professionals who focus on transitions that I immediately and excitedly contacted her via email and, as empty nest is a bit of a hole on my site, I asked if she would contribute a guest post on this topic. Through our email discussions, the topic evolved to include the parenthood transition of starting Kindergarten, a popular (and often painful) topic for many of my friends and clients at this time of year. The following post is an intersection of these two topics of transition.

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I met with a mother and father yesterday, and together we watched their little one kick the soccer ball while continuously wiping her blonde hair out of her face.  She didn’t want … Click here to continue reading...

A Symphony of Contradictions

As brisk autumn brushes lips with hot summer, I become aware, as I always do this time of year, of the interplay of opposites and the symphony of contradictions that are inherent to life and are amplified during transitions. The bride is simultaneously grieving and exultant; the new mother longs for her old life as she celebrates the miracle in her arms; the parents ache in their empty nest while wondering what new possibilities will fill the spaces.

Lately, the urge to have another child has risen up in me. Deep down, I’m quite certain that we’re ready to close the door on childbearing, but as Asher grows into little boyhood and Everest into big boyhood, I’m left with the longing to start the process again with another baby. Is it my grief at watching them grow up that’s igniting this longing? Probably. Is there a part of me that … Click here to continue reading...

A Taste of Empty Nest

Last Saturday, to celebrate our wedding anniversary, my husband and I went out to dinner alone – meaning without our kids – for the first time in almost six years. I know, I know. The reasons for this are too varied to detail in this post, but suffice to say it was a long-awaited and much-needed date.

My friends all asked the same question: “Did you have anything to talk about?” Thankfully, interesting conversation had always flowed easily between my husband and me. We talked about the kids. We talked about work. We made observations about the restaurant. We touched on the state of the world. We enjoyed each other thoroughly and delighted in the fact that we were actually able to complete so many different conversations without a hundred interruptions.

About halfway through the dinner I realized that I was really noticing my husband in a way that eludes … Click here to continue reading...

Slowing Down Into Retirement

Grandma with my brother

A woman named Erin from Ann Arbor, MI recently sent me the following email:

“I am currently helping listening to my mom as she struggles with approaching retirement and redefining herself as retired woman/grandmother/etc. I would love to hear your thoughts on your blog or wherever about this transition… It is so surprising to me how similar her sadness, mourning, and life reflections are to what I went through during my engagement. I’ve been translating your work and recommendations for her to address the retirement transition and it’s provided a great deal of comfort to her.”

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