Brooks & Crowley January 2020

Review Brooks & Crowley

January 2020


439 Washington Street Dedham, MA 02026

*Services Throughout Massachusetts

"It just goes to show that the one thing that stays constant as you grow older is the world shifting under your feet."

Then the internet came along, and I suddenly understood exactly what my parents experienced. Just like them, I’ve found myself to be a stranger in a strange land when it comes to my kids’ world and interests. It just goes to show that the one thing that stays constant as you grow older is the world shifting under your feet. Thankfully, the underlying bedrock of my parents’ tutelage has remained the same. One of the most important lessons I’ve taken from my own upbringing is the importance of independence. My mother and father understood that if my siblings and I were going to grow, then we had to be given enough room to make mistakes and learn from them. Even in the age of smartphones and social media, this practical wisdom from my parents has helped me as a father. It can be hard to sit back and let your kids test their boundaries, but seeing the ways they’ve grown into responsible adults has made it more than worth it. So, as hard as these milestones in independence can be to experience, they bring me joy. It’s easy to dwell on the parts of your family life that will come to an end after your child learns to drive, heads off to college, or starts a job, but what you need to remember is that those moments are going to bring plenty of exciting beginnings, as well.


go whenever they like, and I have a hard time keeping up. Even the nightly dinners have shifted. Our daughters have gone from sitting at the kids’ table to going to different restaurants entirely. This greater level of independence isn’t all bad. After all, if I want to stay off the mountain and just watch football while the girls ski, I can! Plus, my wife and I are free to catch up with friends our age who our kids wouldn’t have as much interest in spending time with. But for all the convenience that comes with maturity, there’s still a little part of me that already misses the closeness of their younger years. I’ll admit it; I thought I was going to have no problem relating to my kids throughout their lives. Growing up, my parents didn’t “get” many of my interests. Irish immigrants used to the simple practicalities of farm life, they had a tendency to dismiss my clothes, hobbies, and general style as “American stuff.” When thinking about raising my own family in the U.S., I made the mistake of believing I’d never be out of touch.

On the surface, my family’s New Year’s celebration looks the same as ever. Just like we’ve been doing these past 15 years, we’ll be heading to my brother-in-law’s place in North Conway, New Hampshire, for a weekend of skiing and revelry. But like many of the family traditions this year, welcoming in 2020 is going to be bittersweet. Our eldest daughter is now a senior in high school, which has become a fact that colors every celebration and milestone between now and her graduation. There’s a sense of finality to these family traditions: her last Christmas at home, last birthday at home, last New Year’s ski trip. Obviously, she’ll still make it to many future family gatherings, but things are going to feel different once she’s in college. In fact, the ways these events shake out have already been changing as our kids grow older. They certainly have come a long way from our first few ski trips. Looking back, we adults used to have to put all their ski gear on for them and take them to the slopes. Now, they just get up and

Here’s to all the changes this year will bring,

–Neil Crowley


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