Is This Really the End?

Momservation: Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. ~Dr. Seuss

♥          ♥          ♥

So here’s the deal. Let’s just admit that we aren’t who we were when this all started.

Last Mom’s Weekend for me and my Boise State 2022 graduate. It went so fast

We’ve grown, we’ve changed. TikTok was invented.

We want different things. I want different things. It’s not you, it’s me.

Okay, I’m seeing someone else.

Can we still be friends?

We’ve been through a lot together. We first met when I began writing this family column 18 years ago—then called “Mommy Tales.” We were so young. My oldest was only four and my youngest was three. Twitter wasn’t even invented yet.

We connected over the struggles of raising kids who wouldn’t end up on Dr. Phil’s couch, pointing at us as where it all went wrong. We actually thought what preschool our kids went to would open the doors to Harvard (actually, that was you). We cried when our kids didn’t get into AM Kindergarten (that was me).

The days were long and the years were short. We were wrapped up with carpools, soccer practice, chaperoning field trips, color-coded calendars, swim team, reading logs, school talent shows and auctions, birthday parties. So. Many. Birthday. Parties.

We learned to humble brag about our kids. We launched our helicopters, hovering overprotectively over our kids. We decided rec soccer was too easy—on our calendars, on our wallets, on our time. Some Tooth Fairy was giving $5 a tooth and Santa was bringing iPod Touches and iPhones, really putting the heat on us.

Sure, there were good times. Watching our kids make best friends. Seeing them discover their talents. Dinner table comedians, Game Nights, backyard games of Man Tracker, first place finishes, too many hours of proud camcorder videos taken, Little League homeruns, bedtime stories and kisses, Christmas morning.

And then came the days that made us long for the easier times like newborn sleepless nights, potty training, worrying our kid was the bark throwing bully or playgroup biter: The preteen and teen years. And lucky us! It coincided with the iPhone in every hand and dawn of social media. In the hormone raging hands of undeveloped brains, it was a nightmare. Suddenly we were monitoring Instagram posts, SnapChats (how??), breaking Photo Vault codes to check for Nudes. Cyberbullying and school shooting drills had been invented.

It was a seesaw of good and bad. Getting asked to Homecoming. Not getting a Promposal. Learning how to drive and growing independence. Terrified until they walked back in the door. Dances and football games and laughing teenagers in the backyard pool. Sneaking out, sneaking drinks, constantly worried one bad decision would irrevocably change their lives. So proud watching them blossom into themselves. First kiss, first love, first heartbreak.

And then, the beginning of the end. Our kids started graduating—what would hold us together now that they were gone? To college, to the military, to live on their own, to be adults emptying our nests. Sure, we held onto each other for awhile in this communal trauma of being designated for resignment, scared of going back out into our lives before me met, before we had kids.

But now that we see the kids are okay (graduating college!!), flourishing, happy even…we’ve been drifting apart. I have new interests; you have new interests. We’ve reconnected with old loves we knew back before kids, when we had all that time. Let’s face it: we’ve changed. You don’t need a family columnist/blogger anymore to guide you through this. I want to go back to writing fiction.

So, I think it’s time to say goodbye before anyone gets hurt. Before you admit things have actually gotten stale—that you really do prefer watching vlogs and listening to podcasts and only listen to books on tape now. Before you finally get frustrated and comment: TLDR (too long didn’t read). Or worse, just keep scrolling.

I’ll admit it: I like TikTok and Reels too. But I can’t change for you. I don’t want to be a social media entertainer. I’m not good at being brief.

I’m a writer, a storyteller. I’ve always dreamed of writing a novel that could end up on the New York Time’s Best Seller List. (Or now that Amazon and Audible have been invented, I want to be trending.) We’ve always told our kids to shoot for the moon and if you miss, you’ll land in the stars. Now, I want to devote my time to that. Not stay stagnant in what we had. But move forward toward what could be.

It’s been great. You’re great. Thanks for reading all these years. I mean that.

If you still think of me now and again, check back into to see what I’m up to (writing for Maria Shriver’s The Sunday Paper) or to read a favorite old blog or two. You could even buy my book, DON’T FORGET YOUR LUNCH, DIAPERS TO DIPLOMA PARENTING WISDOM, if you still want to keep a piece of me around like old love letters.

I’ll never forget you. I hope we can still be friends. (And you’ll buy my novel, I GO, YOU GO when it’s published.)

#NewChapter #Literally #ChangeIsGood #I’llAlwaysLoveYou #EmptyNester


  1. Regan says:

    Sorry to see you end this entertaining column, but I totally get it. OMG – a college graduate! Where has the time gone . . . ? Never mind, it went to Covid and lockdowns. I can’t wait for your next chapter. Love and hugs.

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks, Regan! I’ve loved having you along for the ride and appreciate your support over the years. I knew you’d understand moving on! Looking forward to you reading my next fun adventure! Love and hugs back!

  2. Amy Rogers says:

    I definitely enjoyed the ride, but you are right to move on. We all are doing it in one way or another–at least if we’re psychologically healthy. Thank you for the insights and community. Good luck with the novel(s)!

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks, Amy! I’ve so appreciated you joining me on this ride and taking the time to share your thoughts. Thanks for the vote of confidence – I’m off to a fun start! Enjoy the journey!

  3. Cathy J says:

    Ah, congrats om the next phase. I’m behind most (have an 11 year old) but I’ll still look to you moms for advice and inspiration!

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks Cathy! Enjoy that journey with your kiddo – and if you want to peek back at some of the adventures of raising a preteen, there’s a perfect chapter for you in DON’T FORGET YOUR LUNCH: Preteen Testing Ground. Thanks for stopping by and the good wishes!

  4. Erin H says:

    I have certainly enjoyed this child theme journey together, but as I am on the tail end of it too, I can totally understand your view. Best of luck in your new adventures!

  5. Corie says:

    What a run you’ve had. I’m proud of you. I have enjoyed your writings. You have a real gift! I wish you all the best in whatever your next chapter is my friend!

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks Corie! I appreciate your loyal readership and your kind words (and also taking the time to share with me how my writing has resonated with you). Thank you for the continued support! Enjoy the journey yourself!

  6. Aaron says:

    I still miss and looked forward to reading your article in the Inside Sacramento magazine each month. Enjoy the next stage. Fortunately I can still look forward to our chance meetings & your wisdom while on your daily walks. Aaron

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks Aaron! It always tickled me when people would say I was the first column they turned to when they got their issue. It’s been fun comparing parenting notes – can you believe how time has flown? And I know you’ll be first in line to buy my next book, always a big supporter of our family. Here’s to enjoying the journey and whatever the next chapter holds!

  7. Dan Ott says:

    Kelli- thanks for the great times and always entertaining reads! It will be missed!
    I love that we have been able to parallel watch our boys grow up together, though one of my all time favorite moments was watching Whit climbing a tree in Cresta Park in her AP soccer gear, just like her big bro did!! Gaucho Strong!!

    No stopping our kids!! Now on to your next quest!! Will be looking for you in Barnes and Noble!!

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks for your loyal readership and support, Dan! It’s certainly been fun being on this parenting journey with you and seeing our kids take flight. Enjoy the journey and thanks for taking the time to leave a send off note!

  8. Nancy says:

    Nooo! Kelli, seriously you are signing off? I will miss reading your columns. I have enjoyed them so much over the years. I will definitely read your book.

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Unless something compelling hits me, I’m hanging up the parenting humor column. It was a good run. Thanks for being on this journey with me from the beginning, Nancy – and the first to buy and review my Momservations greatest hits book! (love you for that) I’m having so much fun writing my novel – I feel like a stallion set free to the open range. The kids (no longer kids) have been out in those pastures for a while and I think I’ll go join them in seeing what this great, big, wide world has to offer me. Thanks for you loyal readership and support – enjoy the journey!

  9. Melanie says:

    Oh Kelli, You truly have a gift. So many of your posts make me cry, but crying is good and healthy! I totally understand. And I am so excited for you as you begin the next part of your journey with writing a novel! You are an inspiration and I love how you are always able to capture the perfect blend of keeping it real while mixing in the comedy. God bless you, big hugs, much love to you all, hope to catch up in person soon!

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thanks for the high praise, Melanie! I so appreciate you taking the time to stop by here and send me off with your kind words and good wishes. I’m having a lot of fun writing fiction and can’t wait for you to read it! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as my parenting column. Give a squish to the kids for me and look forward to some pool time this summer! Enjoy the journey!

  10. Becky says:

    So proud of you, Kel, for pursuing your passion! You’re such a talented writer – can’t wait to read your novel ❤

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Thank you, Becky! Turns out all our letters back and forth in high school were just the beginning of exercising my passion for writing! (I still have them somewhere, BTW!) Thanks for the support and your readership over the years – looking forward to the next chapter (literally!).

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