Despite the fact that I only graduated like 10 years ago (what? It could be true), I am suddenly struck by the reality that, effective next week, I will no longer have a child in elementary school. Beginning next fall, both of my children will be in high school. Gulp.

People say childhood will go by in a flash; that you will miss those infant cuddles, that sweet baby smell and the joy of kissing those itty-bitty baby toes. You ignore them (whoever they are). Anyone who has parenting advice from another time is basically an alien, right? Well now you are one of those aliens, because you survived the terrible twos, the tyrannical threes, the sassy sixes and the neurotic nines. Get ready for the next phase. Sigh.

Yet time does fly. I remember thinking my head would explode if I heard the word “mommy” from my children’s mouths one more time, so I threatened to change my name and not tell them the new one. But my kids outsmarted me and started calling me Kelly, because they knew that would bother me even more.  It was a glimpse into the future that promised a clever rapport.

So far so good. Turns out, the older my kids get, the more I like them. Of course I always love them (despite their attempts to make it near impossible), but the more they evolve into who they are meant to be, the more intrigued I am to see who they will become. When they aren’t brooding, back-talking or laying about like sloths, I quite like the people they’ve become. The Carpenter and I can’t even take credit for it. They are genuinely cool, hilarious, talented people despite us.

I knew there was no looking back when I took my youngest shoe shopping only to find out that his new shoes cost more than my first car and they came with paddles, because those sneakers were bigger than a canoe. It’s hard to believe I ever kissed those once adorable infant feet, because nothing smells quite like the running shoes of a teenage boy. Oh. My. Goodness.

How can I miss my kids’ naps when they don’t wake up before noon? Hell hath no fury like my daughter when daylight invades her room. Alarm clock be damned. Take cover. Run for your life.

Gone are the painful car rides listening to the Wiggles. Now we debate contemporary music and they appreciate Led Zeppelin. They have opinions and unique tastes, as they should. But we all like it loud. Bonus.

Sure, we argue. Stubbornness is a virtue in our house. Still, it’s impressive when the kids can mount a good defence, make a case and win. We can’t stunt their potential by insisting we’re right, because they know we aren’t. They’ve outsmarted us now.

Watching my kids grow up is amazing, especially because I don’t age at all (don’t even go there). I’m usually one to hold on to nostalgia with a death grip, but where my kids are concerned, I like watching them interpret the world with fresh eyes and frank observations. It’s not always easy to watch their innocence dissipate, but we manage to find the humour in things, just on a more mature level (which really means we’re all immature and we know it).

High school? Oh. My. Goodness.