Today, a colleague (and friend) brought her newborn son in to the office to show him off. A swarm of women, and even some of the men, converged on this beaming mom and dad as they gushed over their tiny bundle of joy. As I went on to gush nearly as much as the mom, I was asked by one of my colleagues if I would be next.
To have a baby? Heck no. I'm too old for that and am content to get my baby-fixes vicariously through my younger friends and family members who are having babies.
So as the other moms and dads stared at the tiny 3-week-old, one of the moms uttered the words expressed so often about the time spent raising babies: "It goes by so fast."
The truth was spoken. Fleeting is the word that best describes parenthood.
Indeed, it seemed like it was just yesterday that I brought my first-born baby to the office to show her off. It was actually little more than 14 years ago.
Her first steps, her first words, her first haircut - they too seemed like moments that had just occurred. Her first day of preschool, her first day of kindergarten - didn't they just happen? So how is it possible that I was just summoned to my daughter's school recently to help her pick out high school classes?
The fact that my daughter will be a freshman in high school this September (that's THIS YEAR) has me a little freaked out. For the longest time I would stare down at her precious little baby face wondering what she would look like when she grew up. At the time, it seemed like high school was forever away. Here we are today as she is preparing to embark on a new chapter; one where she'll be forced to be more independent and make her own choices in a place that is overrun with pressures.
What a scary realization as a parent. I feel like I'm sending my sweet innocent vulnerable daughter into the lion's den. I know what you're thinking: That I'm out of touch with reality and that my daughter probably isn't so innocent. Well shut your mouth, because she is.
High school is brutal and cut throat. Academically, the pressures are enormous: Performance in honors classes and on standardized tests has the ability to dictate a future.
Socially, high school is a virtual pressure cooker. Teens are discovering themselves. They are exploring and maturing. And in their quest to fit in, they worry about their identities, their bodies, whether or not they can succeed in their sport, in class - in life.
Then there's the all-consuming girl/boy thing: Girls like boys; boys like the girls; girls get jealous because the boy they like likes a different girl, which leads to nasty and/or depressed girls; and the boys with their raging hormones take full advantage of the girls and their insecurities.
Perhaps I've exaggerated the dark side of the high school experience, perhaps not. But I can tell you that I'm freaked out and scared to death. And at this moment, I'm suddenly wishing I could turn back the clock-not too far, just 14 years.
It was just yesterday, wasn't it?