If you know me as a mother, teacher, friend, family member or in any other capacity – you will know that I am a sentimental fool who is good for a solid cry daily – at the very least, tears in the eyes. Just the other day as I was driving to school with my two youngest children in the car (ages13 and 9) my 13 year old says (in disgust I might add) “Mom??? Are you CRYING?” Crying? Uh , yeah. Sobbing would have been more like it if I had been alone – you try listening to Stevie Nicks sing “Landslide” as your first born is finishing his last week of high school and moving away from home in 99 days. Throw into the mix that my own Kindergarten class will be graduating in 19 days and I will never have this time with them again – ever. Nothing will ever be the same – not with my son and not with these 21 amazing little people that I have secretly adopted and loved as my own since September. Ugh…change is not my strong suit. I have to force myself and practice every day that change is good and this is how we grow. Someone once said that your life does not get better by chance – it gets better by change. I know this. I work really hard at accepting this – so why is it so difficult? Why is it so hard for me to see these children that I have just spent roughly 1,170 hours with since September, go on to be exactly where they should be going? Why does it seem impossible that my baby – now an incredible 18 year old young MAN is going to college? ( and yes…I am crying as I am typing this very sentence) I’ll tell you why. Because in the midst of raising a family, having babies, food shopping, cleaning, carpooling, sports and activites, work, sickness, commuting, marriage, parenthhood – time never stood still. Neither the calendar nor the clock ever offered to give me an extra day, nevermind a minute or two. Time just goes by and it goes by so quickly. I have often said that I never really feel the passing of time except for when one of my kids has a birthday – then I’m a mush for a solid week as I recount the last year and my mind plays flashbacks of their lives like a movie clip. It happens to me every year and with the four of them, it happens four times a year. So here’s what I want to say to all of you parents especially to the parents of little ones – take it all in. Be there when you can. Let them make a mess. Let them have a friend or two over even when you’re not in the mood. Ask them before bed about the best part and worst part of their day. Let them see you cry. Let them hear you say you’re sorry. Remind them that YOUR family always says “I love you” and kisses eachother goodbye. Say prayers together. Take lots and lots and lots of pictures. Save any card or letter they’ve ever written because before you know it, things will be changing. Like I said, change is not my strong suit – but I’m trying every day. I’m told, this is how we grow.