It was a summer morning, just after Sunday Mass. My mom was
talking to another parishioner (remember, Mom? It was Rhonda), and while I
don’t know how it came up, I vividly remember her saying, “I don’t know
why people say high school is the best time of your life. Those years can’t
even compare to right now. This is the best time of my life, with my
That one comment made a huge, perhaps
lifelong impact on me.
High school was great. While I had my
share of differences with friends, pseudo broken hearts (I was a bit boy crazy,
and by boys of course I mean hockey players who had no interest in me) and my
first real broken heart, I enjoyed those years. I was a strong student, usually
had a great group of girls around me, and got involved to the extent I wanted
(which of course meant school newspaper, where I covered the religion beat, and
school play, where I had the role of a nun…what do you mean, you see a theme
That said, my biggest goal as a child was
to be an adult. I’ve always been responsible, hardworking and serious, which
led me to believe that adulthood would be more my zone than childhood. I
certainly have my fun, but in the way that I define the word – which may be
quite different from how the majority of people would! (I mean, if I had the choice between skydiving and organizing closets…)
My parents raised us right (in my opinion), teaching us that the
adults were in charge and had the final say…and that someday it would be our
turn. Recently on Live! With Kelly,
Ethan Hawke jokingly lamented that when he was a kid, kids were the
second-class citizens. Now, as a parent, parents are the second-class citizens.
When does he get to be a first-class citizen? While of course I believe we are
all first-class citizens, I also believe the grown-ups should run the world. Otherwise
what is there to look forward to, if your peak of control and happiness comes
when you’re a fickle tween? (That said, in my mind there is no fixed age when
one becomes an adult. Some get there at 16, some 36, some clearly don’t get there at
I hadn’t even turned 23 when I was offered
a full-time teaching position, and I have had no qualms about being tied down
Monday to Friday since such a young age. Daily routine, rewarding work and a
paycheque with benefits…it doesn’t get better to me.
Getting married, building a house, these
were commitments I was excited about. Even the logistics of having children
didn’t drag me down as it does some moms. While the early sleep-deprivation was
a killer, and we are lucky enough to have active grandparents and incredible
babysitters, I’ve also often been glad to have an excuse to turn down social
events or leave early “because of the kids”.
In terms of fulfillment, I am still so
close with my mom, dad, brother and his family…but now I have a wonderful
husband (and all the in-laws he brought with him) and amazing children of my
I think there’s something to be said for
the perspective of appreciating your life where it is right now. I really hope
that when the time comes, I will find joy in the empty nest phase (with my
lovely daughters off fulfilling their dreams…and God willing, someday giving me
grandchildren) and even retirement from teaching (though I am nowhere close to
being able to envision that yet – I didn’t just purge and paint those kindergarten rooms for nothing!)
Maybe there will come a day, after the loss of a loved one
perhaps, when I will feel like my peak is behind me. For now, life just keeps
getting better and better.
My glory days are right here, right now,
and I would argue that there’s a real benefit to believing that yours are too.
Not only that, the next phase will be just as glorious as this one…different, but glorious.

P.S. A final takeaway: your kids are always listening to you, and
something you say may have a monumental impact that they refer to on the Internet
30 years later.


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