Following our kids' example

We moved to Hinsdale 17 years ago. In that time, I've grown a few kids, volunteered in their schools, engaged in the community, logged a lot of hours on the sidelines of sporting events and logged even more hours behind the steering wheel of a mini-van shuttling young passengers around to those events. Treasured friendships have been formed and professional achievements celebrated all within the friendly confines of the 60521-zip code. About the time our family moved to town, a newspaper began appearing on doorsteps. I've read that paper, The Hinsdalalean, on Thursday mornings for all these years, catching up on community happenings, enjoying the photographs (often of a smiling child I know from around town) and admiring the words of my neighbors, friends and co-workers as columnists.

The Hinsdalean is the true heartbeat of the community. I've even thought about submitting my own writings from time to time. But no, I reasoned, things are too busy, the kids have too much going on. Never short on things to say, I prefer to do my musings with friends on a walk, at a book club, at work or on social media. Certainly, my words are not for print.

These are all excuses and a rationalization for inactivity, masking an insecurity. And these are all things I would tell my kids to "get over and get on with it!"

The oldest of my children went to college last fall. He met his new town of Ann Arbor and university with gusto, going to every game, applying for every club and opportunity. He phoned (or texted) home with stories of joining the sailing team, a pre-law society, a tailgate crew, starting a running club, doing a 24-hour playwriting project, trying out to be a tour guide and applying to be an opinion columnist at his school newspaper.

We listened with a mix of bewilderment, amusement and awe. For example, we didn't realize he sailed.

Some things stuck and some things didn't, but this was exactly what I had hoped for his college freshman experience - go, try, do! Put yourself out there and have fun with it. I was, and am, very proud.

While I've spent almost two decades trying to model for my kids, now it's time for me to learn from them. Perhaps my move to Hinsdale has been a slower, 17-year, burn than my son's ability to take his college town by storm within weeks. However, I can find inspiration in his confident ability to use his thoughts, words and cheer to connect to his new community.

It's time to practice what I preach. Hello Hinsdale! I'm Carissa - not exactly new here, yet excited to know each other better!

- Carissa Kapcar of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers

can email her at

[email protected].