[Summer’s End]

Summer just goes by way too fast. Three months of sunshine, warmth, and long days.

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Summer just goes by way too fast. Three months of sunshine, warmth, and long days. It’s definitely my favorite time of the year. Living in Chicago, we are lucky if we get three months of warm weather, so we learn to appreciate every minute of summer. With the end of summer comes the beginning of school. Retailers again rush the seasons by having their school supplies advertised in mid-July sale flyers.

This year is sentimental for me because it is the first time in more than 20 years that I have not sent a child to school. Both of my children have graduated from their perspective colleges.My daughter has completed her master’s degree. Not only do I have no more lunches to pack, essays to review, report cards to evaluate, and applications to sign, I have no more tuition to pay. I should be dancing in the streets, but it’s sad. It’s strange not planning and organizing for the upcoming school year. For 20 years, I watched my children grow from dependent youngsters to independent adults with directions and visions of their own. Twenty years is a long time, but it flew by faster than a blink of an eye.

Remember when we first began dental school? They wanted us to carve a tooth out of wax. Was that a skill we would take into the future? Actually, yes. What seemed on paper to be a long, arduous four-year program, actually went by quickly. Granted, I was pregnant almost my entire freshman year, but my experience was not the same as everyone else’s. Before we knew it, we were taking boards and making decisions on residencies, postgraduate work, or practice locations. As a parent looking from the outside, I’ve noticed that school, especially higher education, just zips by.

I do have two saving graces: I am a member of a high school board, so I live vicariously through 2,000 students in the district. I am also the proud parent of a newly minted ­kindergarten teacher. My daughter graduated with a degree in early childhood education. Her excitement in attaining her first position at one of the local grade schools is palpable. She decorated her classroom with all the appropriate seasonal materials as well as the obligatory tooth chart (after all, her mother is a dentist). I will hear stories of joy and sorrow about her students.

As she embarks on her career, she will not remember her first day of kindergarten, but I will. She will only be watching teary-eyed parents leaving their children - some for the first time.Although this is a generation of early schooling, kindergarten and that long, 12-year road to high school graduation and beyond usually brings a tear to most parents’ eyes. She will also be watching the children - our future dentists, lawyers, and Indian chiefs - and wishing great things for them.

Seasons change, and we must move on. I will enjoy not signing tuition checks. I also will enjoy watching my adult children begin their careers.Nevertheless, I feel the urge to run out and buy a package of highlighters.

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Sheri B. Doniger, DDS
Dr. Doniger is the editor of Woman Dentist Journal.

We welcome letters to the editor. Please e-mail your letters to Dr. Doniger at sherid@pennwell.com. Include your name and the city and state where you practice.

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