So many faces in and out of my life…

for The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

I’ve lived in the same Brooklyn neighborhood for more than 16 years and my daughters have gone to the same school their whole lives. So I’ve known most of their friends since kindergarten, when they were all so small and so cute.

Guess what? They’ve all grown up into teenagers and they do all that messy stuff teenagers do and I don’t want to know about it.

When I walk past my daughters’ school I keep my eyes on the ground or my cellphone because I don’t want to see which of their friends has a cigarette in their hands.

On weekends I walk the dog early so I don’t run into high schoolers I know stumbling down the dark streets. If my girls have friends over on a Saturday night, I plant myself in front of the television with the volume up loud so I won’t hear things I don’t want to.

These are kids whose birthday parties and Bat Mitzvahs I’ve been to, who I’ve cooked breakfast for when they stayed over, some who I’ve shared vacations with. And it makes me feel sad when I have to acknowledge they aren’t so small or cute anymore.

Parenting is a cycle of gain and loss. You lose a baby but gain a toddler, giving up that special, unique bond with an infant for the excitement of a new being that moves and is curious. Then you lose the toddler for a school-aged kid, again missing one type of relationship while getting something new.

I’ve had to put away the picture books I read over and over and over to my girls and watch their bookcases fill with novels they read on their own — and that I’ll never share with them.

With my girls, there is always the next stage to look forward to. But some of their friends that I’ve gotten to know are now fading out as (gasp!) adulthood fades in.

When I see one of them heading to a party with a bottle of vodka poking out of a backpack, or buying condoms at CVS, I don’t want to face the fact that these are the same kids who I took to a tea party at American Girl Place so many years ago or who ran around soccer fields in oversized uniforms.

It’s not as if I want to freeze these kids in time, but where I have to face my own children’s growth and change, and let them go on their own, their friends simply disappear from my world. If I’m only going to keep them around as memories, I’d rather remember them from earlier, more innocent times of life rather than as messy teens.

In the end, it’s not up to me. I don’t get to pick who my children’s friends are, who they bring home, who’s backpack becomes a fixture in my hallway or who’s sitting at my table every weekend. And I have no control over when they disappear from my life.

It’s just that those other kids, sometimes I miss them.

Read The Dad every other Thursday on

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

steve from downtown says:
OK,here it comes. sorry. True, you have no control over your teenage kids' friends carrying booze, or buying condoms, but you DO have control over the neighborhood in which you live and the school you send them to. You do hold sway over their environment.
Nov. 22, 2012, 5:01 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.