It’s one of those memories engrained in my mind even though it took place some 40 years ago.

I can vividly recall standing on the doorstep of my next-door neighbor’s home in Brown Deer with my mother as the neighbor, a grandmother, offered my mom some advice.

“Enjoy them while you can,” she told my mom, looking down at me. “Those years go by so fast.”

Not necessarily profound advice, but for some reason that moment has remained with me, something I’ve gone back to over the years, reflecting on it both as a daughter and as a mother.

It resurfaced in my mind this past weekend when we marked our oldest daughter’s, Marisa’s, 21st birthday. How could we be parents to a 21-year-old? Where did the years go?

It seems like just yesterday when Eddie and I were asked to leave a casino in Las Vegas because he had stopped to put a quarter in a slot machine as we walked through, not realizing he should not be anywhere near the machines with the baby in the carrier on his back!

Now, seemingly in the blink of an eye, she can legally play the slots herself – although I’d prefer that she not do too much of that!

While those two plus decades zipped by quickly, they contain so many wonderful memories. For parents just beginning the journey, my advice is similar to that doled out to my mom years ago. Enjoy every minute, because the time is fleeting.

My 80-year-old mother-in-law, who until about a month ago lived with her 100-year-old mother, helped reset my parenting perspective this weekend.

“I don’t think you are ever too old to listen to advice from your mother,” she said, helping me realize that while my eldest daughter makes most of her life decisions herself, as her mother, I’ll always have an advisory role.
Parenting is a lifelong process even though our role shifts from being a protector and caretaker who provides food, shelter and other life necessities to a teacher, advisor and role model.

Annemarie Scobey-Polacheck compares the parenting process to a cross-country run in her column on Page 4, accurately noting the journey requires endurance and faith. She suggests that, as with running, sometimes it’s the middle of the run that is most challenging. Her insights will likely reassure parents running the course even when it includes exhaustion, hills and obstacles.

The accompanying piece on Page 4 is Annemarie’s son, Jacob’s perspective as a young man on the verge of adulthood, approaching life with excitement, a bit of apprehension, but overall enthusiasm.

Neat insight into the mind of 20-something – especially for those of us who have children in that age range.
Also in this issue, we bring you parenting advice from a priest! Fr. John Yockey, pastor at St. Jerome Parish, Oconomowoc, recently wrote to sound a warning to parents, reminding them to stay involved in their children’s lives without being overly meddling. It’s a fine line, he agrees, but his advice is food for thought.

Technology brings added challenges to parenting, he writes. Children and teens can go anywhere and everywhere with a click of an iPad, computer or smart phone button and some of those places can be dangerous, he warns.
Following an incident at his parish school, Fr. Yockey wrote a gentle reminder to parents to be vigilant about knowing where technology is taking their children.

His piece includes a warning about a specific social network associated with nine teenage suicides!

Neither my coworker – dad to two young boys – nor I had even heard of the site! Have you? Read his piece on Page 5 to learn more!

Finally, in about a week, attention in the global church will focus on families as the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family takes place at the Vatican, Oct. 5 to 19. During those two weeks, bishops from around the world will discuss pastoral approaches to the challenges facing families.

Today’s family is a changing portrait, writes Nancy Frazier O’Brien of Catholic News Service on Pages 10, bearing little resemblance to the families of 50, even 20 years ago.

Blended, extended, divorced families are all part of the picture today, she writes. Her piece, as well as an accompanying CNS piece on ministering to divorced Catholic families, offers insight into how the church is trying to address the needs of its faithful during changing times.