The boys are both in high school now. Riley does the driving; our daily pickups and dropoffs have come to an end.

The first morning they left I watched from the window and thought about how absolutely insane it felt to have one teenage child solo-transporting the other, just motoring off in a 5500-lb machine that definitely has no self-driving capabilities. It’s a milestone that I personally think delivers strong coming-home-from-the-hospital-with-a-newborn vibes: how is this even LEGAL?

Our new morning routine is fairly pleasant: John makes breakfast, everyone does their various getting-ready things, and when it’s time for the kids to leave for school we all hug goodbye.

I guess I can recognize now when we are breathing rarefied air: that goodbye hug is everything. You know how sometimes when you hug your kids you’re trying to communicate so many different things at once? I love you, be safe, I hope you’re happy, I can’t believe how grown you are, I wish this wasn’t all going by so fast. I feel like every morning I get the chance to imprint my love-notes onto them as best I can, my arms around their too-big shoulders.

Parenting continues to be a never-ending series of firsts, even seventeen years in, except now there are so many memories mixed into everything. I get soggy with perspective sometimes: like, wait, I still remember holding a tiny starfish hand as we walked to the first day of kindergarten.

But onward we go. Learning along the way, all of us.

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Sharon
Sharon
15 days ago

Same thing here. Sad, but honestly, they really are fun as almost adults. And now they sleep through the night!!

Suzanne
15 days ago

Why am I sobbing, reading this?! It all goes so fast.

sara
sara
15 days ago

oh, my heart

Carrie
Carrie
15 days ago

Ouch…..so many firsts and lasts…so much joy and pain together…trying not to sob at my desk at work!

Pat Birnie
Pat Birnie
15 days ago

So beautifully written. I can feel the love. And yes enjoy those mornings. They sound so lovely. I think (maybe I’m wrong) that kids’ hugs are more often than not perfunctory, while moms are hanging on for dear life.

Liz
Liz
15 days ago

Tiny starfish hand 😭😭😭

MCW
MCW
14 days ago

Hugs are golden when you can get them! Its all so sweet and bittersweet with teens. My teen is dating. While I’m glad I don’t need to check if she washed the shampoo out of her hair anymore, the teen romance is terrifying.

Sarah
Sarah
13 days ago

Thank you for continuing to write here! Your writing always hits my heart and makes me a little weepy. I am now a parent to young kids and I am simultaneously holding on/ letting go over everything. I see this will never end!

Jill
Jill
13 days ago

Love this! I have learned to embrace the joy that comes with each stage of parenthood. We just sent our youngest off to college a few weeks ago, so I am learning to be an “empty nester” I miss my kids so very much, yet it is exciting to watch them go off on their own and forge their own paths. When I do see them, those hugs are EVERYTHING.

Rachel
Rachel
13 days ago

My teen was talking about getting his license this morning and I was like, “please stop, you are HURTING ME”

Shawna
Shawna
9 days ago

Question: have you gotten an extra car because of Riley being able to drive now? My daughter (16) is technically old enough to get her license and we’ve been steeling ourselves for the idea of needing another car for the kids to use, but she hasn’t written the test yet so we’ve been able to put off the decision.
Also, she and her boyfriend just celebrated their 2-year anniversary! They’re already making plans to attend universities in the same city the fall after next!

Shawna
Shawna
8 days ago
Reply to  Linda

I’m curious if Riley will start to think of it as his car and not want to share when his brother gets his license. We’re talking about getting a “kids'” car to try to emphasize that Sage will have to share it with her brother one day (assuming she ever gets her license).