Family is everything. As moms, we are often at the center of that “everything.” It’s equal parts amazing and oh-so-exhausting.

Then, just when we think we have a rhythm, we shift to a new stage of life and the playbook changes. We are constantly adjusting the sails to withstand whatever new turbulence might be brewing.

In my family, we find ourselves bracing for the transition to middle school. I can’t even comprehend all the changes this will bring in the coming months and all of the new ways I will need to evolve as a parent. Nurturing children as they enter the teen years is a whole new challenge. I find myself worried about heavy things like mental health, anxiety, and pressures I may not even be able to see pushing their way into the safety bubble I’ve tried to create around my kids — a bubble that surely won’t be able to protect them much longer.

As many other moms, including my own, have told me: parenting doesn’t stop when your kids grow up. It changes; we adapt. The relationship between a mother and child — between any parent and a child — will always be a special one, no matter your age or stage in life.

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You’ll see and feel some of those relationships as you page through this edition of On The Minds of Moms. We feature some NICU mamas, Ashley Ham and Martha Mink, who had to adjust their parenting “sails” long before they were ready. These women now have come together to create a support network for other moms whose babies were born prematurely.

Be sure to also check out our cover story on Cassie Kasowski. Cassie’s love for her own mother, who lost her battle with alcoholism in 2017, prompted her to turn her pain into a profession where she helps other people overcome addictions.

It’s a story both heart wrenching and hopeful and a true testament to the unbreakable bond of family.