This summer my daughter has been working with me in the day care. Today my son stepped in so I could keep my commitments elsewhere and the teacher scheduled to work could attend to personal business.

As I drink my morning tea, I can hear Jonah reading down below, relaxed, animated like the performer that he is, gentle, kind.

My daughter and I talk at night about what is happening with the children. She asks perceptive questions as she always has, a person of exceptional emotional intelligence, and offers insights I might not have come to without hers.

It’s a rare pleasure not many of us have these days, to work with our children, to share our chosen profession with those we’ve raised, to have our children step into our shoes in our world of work.

When I first had my children, I mourned each passing phase. My mother reminded me that every stage can be wonderful. My kids and I have been in hard places. At the moment, we mostly aren’t.

I find their emerging adulthood fascinating. Perhaps they see me differently now, too, from this vantage point of working alongside me, of struggling with some of the challenges of adulthood they’ve witnessed me struggle with over the years, of experiencing some of the deep pleasures and joys that surprise us in adulthood.

A long time ago someone somewhere said the measure of raising children well lies in enjoying their company as adults. I feel quite lucky in that department. I love and admire and enjoy my kids and can only hope the feelings are mutual.

Middle age, the letting go, the watching our children grow up and move away, is such a complicated place, of loss, of longing, of remembering, of unknown, of loneliness and solitude, of new hope and facing fears.

Young people becoming themselves, taking on the world in new ways, relating to me from a vantage point of greater autonomy and experience, are enlivening.

They allow me to lay down my burdens, if even for a day, and to trust, incrementally, that they will be the keepers of the flame, the caretakers of tomorrow, and that some days, its ok for me to relax and allow them to show me the way.

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