I am leaving Chicago Parent. This edition is my last. I am starting a great new job as director of advocacy and communications at the Chicago Foundation for Women.
If you know the foundation, you understand my choice.
Here is the description from its Web site: "One of the largest women's funds in the world, Chicago Foundation for Women believes that all women and girls in the Chicago metropolitan area have the opportunity to achieve their potential and to live in safe, just and healthy communities. We support the achievement of social justice through grantmaking and advocacy. Since 1986, Chicago Foundation for Women has impacted social justice through advocacy, leadership development, and public and grantee education. In addition, we have awarded more than 2,000 grants totaling $13 million to hundreds of organizations that make life better for women and girls."
Still, it was still not an easy choice.
I have been told so many times that parenting-at its essence-is all about letting go.
We are preparing our kids to be strong enough to leave us, stand on their own and pursue their dreams.
When they are born, it's visceral as the doctor cuts the umbilical cord. And it becomes one big metaphor as you run after toddlers, trying to keep them safe.
This morning, I was running again. "Wait, wait. I need a hug," I said as my two beautiful boys went off to their first day of high school. One is a senior, the other-my baby-is a freshman. Luckily, they stopped and indulged me in a private cuddle. They are not above it, which is nice. But it's not a priority for them, while for me, it's almost an obsession.
I grab them and hold tight. It's as if I was trying to perform a Vulcan mind meld a la Mr. Spock, transferring all my experience and knowledge as they head out into the world. I want to remember that at one time, I could hold them in my arms. Because if you look at my babies now, the days of calling them boys are all-too-soon coming to a close.
It's funny. So much is written about how to raise children and move them to independence. (It's called parenting.) But there's not a section in the bookstore on unparenting. Maybe because it never really happens. Parents never really move back to independence after the kids.
They leave us physically, but they never leave our heart.
So it is, with my time at Chicago Parent.
I've always found it comes down to listening to your inner voice.
And when my friend and former colleague Hannah Rosenthal, who heads the Chicago Foundation for Women, called me about the job, my inner voice said, "This is right. It's time."
It's been an honor to work with our publisher Dan Haley, as well as a team of amazingly talented people at Chicago Parent-some of whom I'm now lucky enough to call dear friends. (One of whom, Cindy Richards, is my best friend. How many jobs do you get to work with your best friend?)
I have tried to remain true to the foundation built by the two former editors, Mary Haley and Sharon-Bloyd Peshkin. They are women I admire. I've also been free to do the type of journalism I believe in-hard-hitting stories on important issues with good writing and top-notch storytelling.
We always remembered our mission is to be a regional parenting magazine. Yet we've not shied away from looking at national issues through a local lens. As a result, we've even broken some national stories. We've also won some awards.
Dan told me when I began four and a half years ago that my mission was to take Chicago Parent to the next level. I hope it's happened. But none of it was done alone. It's been a team effort, thanks to a group of funny, bright and talented people.
I am leaving behind story lists and covers, so the next team will have a good, solid launch. But frankly, I am also leaving behind a piece of my heart.
I am leaving behind friends and a place that has served as my home while I was redefining what home meant to my family. Chicago Parent has been a constant for me and for my two boys during a transition in our life. I will be forever grateful.
In the end, my choice came down to what it always does when you are a parent-what would be better for my children?
I thank Dan and every one at Chicago Parent. But I also thank you for letting me be a part of your lives. The readers of Chicago Parent are a special breed. They are wonderful, caring people who keep this magazine on the right path. There will soon be another talented crew in place to join Jennifer Gilbert, Kate Pancero, Liz DeCarlo and the incredible design team lead by Becky Lomax. And they will need you as we did. So, keep talking to Chicago Parent. Keep telling the editors what you want and what you need. Keep making this magazine the best parenting resource for more than 250,000 families in the six county Chicago area. My thanks.