Story last updated at 8/12/2009 - 1:15 pm
If you've taken a look at the calendar lately and noticed the many back-to-school sales, then this week's column is just for you. Because it's just about the time when we not only help our children get ready for another school year but realize something we don't always want to admit: they're growing up so fast.
There are tell-tale signs all around us, from the growth marks on charts hanging from their bedroom walls or written in garage corners (how did they grow so quickly?) to their own toy collections that just aren't pulled from toy boxes as often as they once were. And if we think about it, their interest in Candy Land, Go Fish and make-believe has slowly waned, replaced by Wii and other electronic entertainment.
Think with me for a couple of moments and I'll bet you can come up with reminders of how fast your own children are growing up.
In my own parenting, I think of the seasons when Lego sets, Pinky the satin-edged blanket and Anna Doll - all special parts of my son's and daughters' lives - were gradually set aside in late-August. They'd rather trek to the school office, where a roster taped to the window contained the names of teachers and classmates. We set aside Slip 'n Slides and backyard tents in exchange for haircut appointments and picking out just the right lunchboxes and backpacks.
Then the first day of school came. There were half-eaten bowls of cereal, teeth to be brushed, shoes to be tied (the same pairs they'd tie by themselves in just a few more weeks), and pictures to take before the school bus pulled up around the corner.
They were growing up so fast.
So parents, with a new school year just up ahead, I'd like to encourage you to pull out all the stops on these last days of summer and enjoy your kids while you can.
Join them on the Slip 'n Slide. Count the Stars. Play one more round of Go Fish, Candy Land or build a Lego space station.
Because, before we even know it, we'll look back at this time next year - at the marks we left today on the growth chart, at the scuffed-up shoes we're ready to toss and the framed photos from the first day of school.
We have this time - this season - with our children. They're growing up so fast.
Reach Judy Halone at firstname.lastname@example.org.