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Growth Spurts: The Last Year

Back-to-school time brings with it a bit of a different feel for me this year. You see, my firstborn is starting her senior year of high school. Already many of you parents are nodding your heads in understanding. Some of you might be tearing up; some of you might be cheering and lifting your hands in praise. But you know the feeling I’m experiencing – the disbelief that this time has come so quickly. 

I remember well Callie’s first day of kindergarten. As with most firstborns’ major milestones, there was a lot of fuss made over it. We took pictures; we gave her a card and a special necklace; and the whole family went together to take her to school. When we got there, we stayed as long as they would let us. We watched her sit with her new classmates and then line up to walk to their classroom…and my husband and I cried like babies. I’m thinking the same thing will probably happen at graduation. 

Certainly there are other feelings mixed in with the disbelief that this time is upon us. I am incredibly proud of Callie and all that she has accomplished in her first 18 years of life! She is an outstanding young woman with much talent, drive, strength, and character. So it is exciting to think about sending her out into the world and seeing all that she does with her life!  

But is she ready?? Eek!! 

You parents who were nodding in understanding at the beginning of this article are now closing your eyes and catching your breath as you remember nervously nudging your own little bird out of the nest for the first time. Will she fall? Will she fly? Will she ever return home? Will she remember all that we taught her? Ohmygosh — we forgot to teach her ________! Waaaaaaiiiit!!! 

Okay, backing it up a bit. We do still have one more year with her at home. It will be filled with momentous occasions and celebrations, college (and financial aid!) applications, meetings, last performances, and the like. And it will go quickly. My prayer is that we won’t blaze through it all, just checking things off as we do them, but that we will do our best to treasure each moment, remembering to be thankful for each one. The tears will come, for sure, but so will the joy for what has been and the hopeful anticipation for what is yet to be. 

Parents, from the first day we saw our children’s faces, we knew this day was coming. For those of you in the throes of baby/toddlerhood, be encouraged that this season will not last forever. But also take note that this season will not last forever!That little one you are diapering and clothing in cute onesies will soon be donning a cap and gown. Take in the moments. Don’t wish them away or hurry them along. Take lots of pictures and videos (for your family, not for social media). The days may be long, but the years are very, very short. 


About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at and

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