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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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Friends and books

Uploaded: Dec 15, 2015
Our book club has been meeting regularly for over two decades and we were together last night to share holiday cheer. We met when our eldest children, who are now in their mid-twenties, were preschoolers. What started as a weekly daytime playgroup evolved into an evening monthly book chat. Since our first gathering, twenty-two siblings have been born, the youngest just became a teenager. Soon only two of us will still have children at home. Two members moved away, one divorced, but then moved back. One member passed away.

The early years we talked about our kids: our struggles with sleep, separation, and limit setting. We compared notes on school issues, homework, sports teams, family vacations, and the college search. Some of us rejoined the work force or devoted more hours to volunteer work as the kids grew. Now the conversation still centers on our kids, but it is focused on their studies, careers, and their significant others. We await their visits with much anticipation, and remarkably, all thirty of our kids will be home for the holidays.

Many of us have lost parents and in-laws, but most of us have at least one parent or in-law whose health challenges challenge us. Recently, we spend as much time discussing them as we do our children and spouses. Our desire to keep the older generation safe and healthy, and with us forever, is often at odds with their need to maintain their independence and autonomy, despite illness, cognitive impairment and frailty. We wonder how we can avoid these conflicts, and not burden our children with our future choices, when the time comes that it is our own health challenges that are the evening’s topic.

We also read and discussed a lot of books over the years. But for me, none of the books have been as memorable as the stories of my friends’ lives.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by PR, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 15, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Beautifully said, Sally! Thank you!

Posted by LLF, a resident of Atherton,
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing. Love our time together.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 15, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, PR and LLF, for reading and commenting!

Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on Dec 16, 2015 at 7:00 am

Book groups endure! Congratulations on two decades for yours!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:02 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, LJ, sometimes it is all about just showing up!

Posted by Saga, a resident of another community,
on Dec 17, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Thank you so much. I really appreciate this. I am slightly older but wish I had this kind of support 10 years ago. I should have/could have, but sometimes I think it is just "pure luck" to have found "a tribe". Anyway, happy that you have one, and I'm looking forward to finding mine.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 18, 2015 at 7:59 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Dear Saga, thanks for reading and commenting! No question there is some luck involved, how we all met was happenstance. Keep looking and stay open to all the possibilities!

Posted by Anne Ritchie, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Dec 22, 2015 at 8:39 pm

Anne Ritchie is a registered user.

What a beautiful post, Sally! You are so lucky to be a part of a thriving book club, but more importantly a group that has supported you through the sunrises and sunsets of life. I recommend your group read "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande. It will spark thoughtful conversation within your book club and beyond.

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 22, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Anne!
Thanks for reading and commenting! We did read "Being Mortal" and find ourselves referring to it almost every time we get together! There is so much wisdom in that book. I find myself buying copies and them dispersing them to friends. I should probably just place a bulk order!

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