Time for Change

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Graduation season is upon us, and soon another generation will be faced head-on with big life changes as they embark on a new chapter, moving on to higher education, entering the workforce, or even enlisting in the military. We’ll be telling graduates about Oh, the Places You Will Go, à la Dr. Seuss, and that today is the first day of the rest of their lives. But they’re not the only ones who will be faced with change; so, too, will their parents.

When I was a senior in high school, way back in 1993, I joined the prom committee. The time came to discuss our theme, based on whatever we selected as our prom song. The romantic Pisces in me wanted one of the cliché power ballads of the day: Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” Journey’s “Faithfully,” or some other sap-laden song.

In the end, “This is the Time” by Billy Joel was the chosen one, with words that touched a class about to part ways, speaking about changing times:

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This is the time to remember
’Cause it will not last forever

These are the days to hold on to
’Cause we won’t, although we’ll want to
This is the time,
But time is gonna change

I can honestly say that every time that song comes on, it does much more than take me back to prom night. With each passing year, I find that song takes on greater significance, especially now that my kids are growing up at lightning speed. If there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that all the clichés are true: time really does fly by and, like it or not, it moves faster by the day.

My daughter is a sophomore and it recently hit me that we essentially have only two more years before she’s out of the house, carving her future path, which she’s already been hard at work doing for a few years now with aspirations of becoming a fighter pilot. She’s always been an old soul, wise and mature beyond her years. (Read her Youth Voices article this edition and you’ll see what I mean.) She’s very active in the Civil Air Patrol, and when I watch her in action, leading activities and giving speeches, I am simply in awe. She’s more adult every day, but I still see the little blue-eyed girl with golden curls.

OLD SOUL: Every time my daughter gives a speech, especially one she made on the fly, people come up to me saying she’s more well-spoken than most adults they’ve worked with in the executive world. I’m always blown away, but in my heart, this little face is what I see when she’s up there doing her thing.

As parents, watching our children grow up from little ones to teenagers to adults is the greatest gift. Yet at the same time, it’s also one of the hardest things we’ll do. To let them grow up and become their own adult version of the small child we still see whenever we look their way stirs a whole range of emotions. We’ll long for the days of scooping them up in our arms and hearing those little voices calling out for mommy, and we’ll recall nervously watching their first taste of independence as they got behind the wheel and drove away by themselves for the first time. But we’ll also feel so much pride as we watch the responsible adults they are in the process of becoming. 

So, class of 2024, as you embark on this new and exciting journey transitioning from your parents’ child to your own independent self, try to remember that this is also a time of great change for your parents. The hardest thing they will ever do is to let you go; to let you grow up and become your own adult version of the child they still see whenever they look your way.

Author

  • Juliana Demarest

    Juliana Demarest is a Jersey girl with ink in her blood. She fell in love with print journalism at a young age in the '80s when her Uncle Tony would take her to "work" at his weekly paper. In 1997, she co-founded a weekly newspaper in North Jersey. One day, she went to photograph a local farmer for a news story. She ended up marrying him and leaving journalism to become a farmer's wife. In 2010, they packed up their two children and headed to Truckee in pursuit of the outdoor life. She didn't realize just how much she missed journalism until she joined Moonshine in 2018 after taking time off to be mom. Connect with Juliana juliana@moonshineink.com

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