New chapter in life confronts me

It’s so cliché. I want to roll my eyes when I hear it, but for some reason I can only nod in agreement. And I even too often hear it tumbling out of my own mouth into the ears of mothers of young children: “They grow up fast.” When I wrote my first column, my firstborn was about to graduate from high school and leave home. This time, it’s my baby-baby flying the coop. My oldest leaving only slightly prepared me for this. I’m engulfed with grief. I find myself perfectly fine one second and sobbing the next. In fact, just recently I walked into the salon for a pedicure and was placed in the chair beside a longtime member of my church family. She excitedly asked how my kids were doing, and it was like she turned on a faucet behind my eyes. It’s a chapter of my life closing long before I feel ready for it; and at the same time, I couldn’t be happier or more proud. My daughter will spend her senior year of high school studying piano at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and I feel blessed beyond words that she has this opportunity. Here in the South, clichés about raising kids roll easily off our tongues. Here are some I’ve found to be true: • “Grow like a weed.” Children do grow fast, especially in the first years of life. From the moment you were born up to age 3, your brain made 700 new neural connections every second! Your environment and the interaction you had with the adults in your...