I miss being able to write more freely about parenting. There’s more to say than there ever has been, although it’s certainly harder to put into words — diaper blowouts and tantrums are pretty universal and thus easy enough to describe, but tween/teen issues can be so complicated, and of course totally subjective to my point of view. Still, it would be wonderful to share more about my kids and what parenting is like these days. It would be nice to hear more from you all on what I’m facing, because I know so many of you have faced or are facing similar joys and challenges.

The problem, of course, is that my children are now old enough to care very much about how I present them online. I no longer include them very often in things like Instagram Stories, by their request. They allow some photos, but they must be vetted and approved. No one has ever specifically told me not to write about them, but I am cognizant of how self-conscious this age is, and how awful it would be if I posted some cute-in-MY-mind story that somehow got shared with a classmate, which is specifically why I tend to do more mild complaining than anything else. It’s probably cooler if your peers find out you occasionally drive your mom right up a wall than if they find out about the adorable thing you still do that she hopes you’ll never age out of ever.

The boys are 11 (almost 12) and 14 now. We are fully entrenched in the middle school years, which has been, in some ways, a lot like what I imagined it would be, and in other ways totally different. Middle school is about the age I feel like I can really remember (I picture those core memories from Inside Out, and how many of mine seemed to have formed when I was a young teen), but so little of what I experienced applies to my own kids. Socializing is different, friendships are different, the way everything in school works is totally different. Technology in particular has changed our culture so much I often feel pretty lost trying to understand what my kids are into, which I suppose has always been true of one generation attempting to relate to the other, but did previous generations have iPhones, they did NOT.

There’s a lot I’d like to talk about, but it mostly all comes down to the same thing I’ve been saying since I started this blog: I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING. The good news is I know plenty of other parents feel this way too, we’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got, and what we’ve got is an ever-changing mix of chaos and mistakes and wins and frustrations and pride and love. It’s so different than it used to be, but in that sense, it’s pretty much exactly the same.


I feel very preoccupied with aging these days, which feels about as interesting as being preoccupied with the weather but I am finding myself more interested in the weather too, along with what types of birds are currently on the feeder (those tiny ones with the grey backs and pointy beaks!) and the time of day the mail arrives, so I guess it’s all one big magical potpourri of being a NOT-YOUNG person.

I’m pretty sure there’s nothing more boring than hearing someone talk about how they’re experiencing the exact same passage of time as every single other thing on the planet, but what can I say: I’ve never been almost-46 before and I find it all very fascinating-slash-depressing.

My role as a mother keeps changing and while I’m still pretty deep in it with Dylan and there’s plenty of ferrying around and laundry and worrying and meal-serving going on I can see with clarity how this whole thing was time-limited from the getgo and everything we’ve done and still do has the end goal of sending these boys out on their own and that’s going to happen so soon, really. Then I will still be their mom, I will always be their mom, but there will be this giant pie-slice from my life that I will need to fill, and the house will be so very quiet.

I think a lot about what is meaningful to me these days and try to realign myself to focus on those things rather than being forever caught up in what I think I should be thinking about, and that seems like one of the gifts of aging: you have all these years of perspective, and the less you have left the more you value what you still have. The nuthatches on the suet, so bright-eyed and round-bellied, coming and going in a great collective flurry: they are a little daily poem, one gift among so many.


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