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PARENTING

THE JEWISH ADVOCATE JUNE 21, 2013

T

he young woman sitting across from me at the dinner table talked enthusiastically about her research at the MIT Media Lab. She was involved in designing prosthetics that would enable a person to climb a mountain or run a marathon. She Parenting was also graduating the next day from MIT and on her way to a master’s program clear across the country to study mechanical engiJudy Boltonneering Fasman Only 14 percent of engineers in this country are women, and my niece is one of them. My nephew graduated the day after his sister and is off to college to pursue his dream as a video game designer. At the other end of the table, Anna is telling my sister-in-law about her internship shadowing a cardiologist; she’s been scrubbing in to observe procedures such putting in pacemakers and defibrillators. “And you don’t feel like fainting when you see all that blood?” I ask in disbelief. Adam is excited to start a research internship in a lab studying stem cells. These kids alternately awe me and make me weepy. When did they become young adults with interests and expertise so far from my own area of knowledge? When did I stop becoming my children’s primary confidante? Their first line of defense? I don’t write to their teachers anymore about this or that, or send notes that they have to sit out recess because of a cold. They advocate for themselves. I watch Anna explain to a server about her severe dairy allergy. I used to do that stuff. My role as a mother is undergoing a radical realignment and I’m not ready. I’ve known that my kids would only belong to me

The next phase begins

Lenore Skenazy’s book gives advice to parents whose children are growing up. for a finite period of time. They’d grow and want to stumble into the greater world on their own. What young adult wouldn’t? I did.

When did I stop becoming my children’s primary confidante? Their first line of defense?

So it was with great reluctance and more than a bit of trepidation that I let my children take the train down to Manhattan, N.Y., to stay with their respective friends for the weekend. I know there are kids younger than they are who literally travel the world by themselves. I also know that my kids are more than capable of taking trains and catching subways on their own. They’ve spent extended time away from home at camp and on school trips abroad. But this was a new ad-

her senior year in high school. At her college graduation dinner she told us a story about dusting off her French to ask a hotel concierge where she could do laundry. And my computer science nephew will likely be acquiring skills to control a drone someday. It’s thrilling to watch this generation put down a stake in their future. But does that future include me as a mother? Friends with grandchildren assure me that there’s a Round Two in the mothering game and it’s even sweeter the second time around. One friend went so far as to tell me that if she had known how wonderful grandchildren were, she would have skipped having children and gone straight into grandparenting.

Young all-stars should be safe, clean and ready for fun The summer sports season is here for children across the country. As a parent, you can help make it a successful and fun one. The experts at Sun Products, the makers of All Detergent, offer the following tips to help you and your little all-stars get your game faces on: Put safety first: Scrapes and bruises come with the territory, so don’t sweat it when these minor injuries occur. Keep a firstaid kit on hand to clean and cover nicks and cuts when they happen Also, it’s hot out there and your kids are playing hard, so cool them down with flair: Boost team pride by doling out frozen ice treats in your team’s colors.

PHOTO/MAUREEN RIGDON/FOTOLIA.COM

Young players need to be fully prepared for the summer sports season. Keep uniforms clean: Whether you’re playing a team sport, or just having fun in the yard, summer means lots of sliding into home plate and mounds of dirty uniforms. Use a laundry detergent that will lift out tough grass and mud stains. For example, new All

I have no doubt that my niece, my nephew and my own children will have a great impact on the world. Like any experienced chess player, I can see the endgame already. And my part is to let go and wave goodbye after each milestone. The other day, I was helping Adam through some disappointing news. I sat on the edge of his bed and he said that he felt like a 5-year-old. I told him that sometimes we need to feel like a little kid to be nurtured. For the moment, though, I’m going to pretend that the only changes I have to cope with in the near future are to wave goodbye at the train station and cheer on my niece and nephew for receiving their diplomas.

venture for them, navigating New York City on their own. Adam told me not to worry: In New York, you’re never lost for long. You just count. I wasn’t concerned that he’d get lost; I was hyper about him looking like he was lost. There are books written about parents like me. The classic on the subject of the overprotective parent is by Lenore Skenazy. She wrote a book called “Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had without Going Nuts With Worry.” After her book came out a few years ago, she was on the Today Show with her then 9-year-old son whom she alA Weekend Outdoor Adventure in the Blue Hills lowed to navigate the New York 6:00pm Friday July 19th – Sunday noon July 21st City subway system without a cell Day-Only OR Overnight Tent Camping Option phone. It was jaw-dropping for Join Temple Shalom of Milton, Temple Beth David of the South Shore me. I thought about Skenazy when & Mosaic Outdoor Mountain Club I interrogated my almost 16-yearold about his pending maiden voy- Hiking, Biking, Swimming, High or Low Ropes Course, Games & Activities for Adults and Kids, and much, much more! age on the Times Square shuttle. Registration Required: Go to www.TempleShalomOnLine.org for more He shrugged me off and said he information and to complete the online application took the T in Boston. And then I (or call the Temple office 617-698-3394 to have information sent) remembered he’s the kid who deThis program is supported in part by a grant by CJP’s South Area Planning Committee bates at school and speaks Spanish fluently. My niece, the engineer, backpacked through Europe after

Cheryl Anns

Preparing your kids for summer sports By StatePoint Media

19

combines in-wash pre-treaters with its active stain-lifters to attack tough stains, so your little athletes can get as messy as they want. Also, All is the official detergent of Little League Baseball and Softball. Enjoy postgame fun: You win some, you lose some, but it’s how you play the game that matters. Teach your kids that giving it your all is what counts most. Keep spirits high by making fun postgame plans for the entire team. Celebrate a game well done by taking the players out for a pizza party, a barbecue in the park, or a trip to the pool. With some preparation and an eye on fun, you can have all your bases covered for a healthy, happy summer sports season.

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