By Eric Messinger
It’s mid-August and I’m writing this letter after returning home from the Berkshires with my two children, Elena and Adam, ages 14 and 10, who were at sleepaway camp for seven weeks. I’m at once over-tired and overjoyed. I’m so happy to see them, I’m behaving like the dad I always want to be but rarely am: Patient, doting, hopeful, and quicker to empathize than to complain. And as if this recent family reunion weren’t enough of an emotional supercharge, I also recently met a woman who told me that, a year ago, she expected to never see, hear, or walk again. I shared a table with her and her husband at an informal cabaret at the Seven Hills Inn in Lennox, MA, near my kids’ sleepaway camp. She felt very blessed just to be there listening to classics from the American Songbook which (like myself) she loves. And the rest of us in the room—including the performers—felt very blessed to share this time with her.
I have my occasional swells of idealism and then, like most people, I revert to form. Still, I think it’s just fine to be writing this note through the clarifying lens of someone who feels a bit more conscious of his mortality than he usually does. It makes me wonder, what do I want to do as a parent, a husband, and an editor that I’m not already doing? Or what can I be doing better?
September is a busy month for parents as they help their children transition into the routines of fall, and this issue tries to help with a whopping guide to enrichment and activity classes for children of all ages, lots of back-to-school stories, and a trove of good ideas for family fun. But I hope you’ll rummage through this with a very selective eye. I worry that, as a parenting generation, we spend too much time trying to improve our children and not enough just enjoying them. There, I said it.
Have a happy September,