Two Empty Bedrooms

Two Empty Bedrooms

by Kristina Cawley '90, P'25

This past week, I had a moment that truly took my breath away. For the first time in almost 24 years, both of my children's bedrooms were empty. My son recently graduated from college and is now living on his own. Meanwhile, my daughter is away on a service project. They're both incredible humans, and I'm so proud of the young adults they've become. Yet, I am at a bit of a loss here.

Standing in the hall looking at those two empty bedrooms, I realized that while they won't always be empty—as my daughter still has a year before college—the everyday noise that once filled our home may soon be a thing of the past. The days are long, but the years are short, as they say. It feels like just yesterday we were in an endless cycle of chores and commitments, giggles and groans, and plans and promises that revolved almost exclusively around two little people who turned my world upside down, yet gave me incomparable inspiration and profound purpose. Those moments, once the fabric of my everyday life, are now memories.

As parents, it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily routines, especially when our kids are younger. Let’s not forget that being a parent, in addition to managing routines, expectations, and demands, can be hard—plain and simple. Working at a school, I've seen firsthand how parents struggle to balance their busy schedules. It's harder than ever to find the time to get involved. Yet, from my vantage point, the moments spent contributing to your child's school and daily life are incredibly rewarding.

Volunteering at their schools, attending their events, being present for their ups and downs—these are the moments that matter. They may seem small and even insignificant at times, but one day, you’ll realize just how much they mattered to them and to you. This has been said before, but it might be the first time I am saying it: someday, you won't need to pack a lunch, attend a play, watch a game, or be a homeroom mom or dad. And when that day comes, you'll be glad you embraced every bit of it.

To all the parents out there, I encourage you to dive into the day-to-day moments with your children. Get involved, volunteer, and cherish the chaos and the joy that come with raising them. Because before you know it, they'll be off forging their own journeys, and the house will be quiet. And while the quiet brings its own sense of peace, it's the noise of family life that I find myself missing the most…already.

Savor it all.