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The Sweet in Bittersweet – Lessons from Our Big Kids

The precious days of babyhood are very far back in the rearview mirror, as are those of the toddler and childhood years for that matter. Those days were filled with sweetness – wide-eyed wonder, chubby-cheeked smiles, cuddles galore. Bedtime routines, mommy-and-me classes, playgroup, playdates. Of course they were also challenging, these early days. 

From the moment we embark on this never-ending journey there are challenges along the way. We are continually encountering new paths and treasures, and new challenges, too. In a way the challenges are treasures themselves, because so much growth comes from facing each one – for us and for our children.


I’ve been joyfully surprised by how much SWEET there is in this BIG KID season of motherhood. We get to connect with our kids on a whole new level. Sharing their excitement over a new matchbox car or Polly Pocket doll has been replaced with sharing their excitement over a new show they think I’ll like or a new coffeehouse we just have to try together. What a blessing! 



Recently, my big kids have sweetened my life with some precious insights. Here are 5:


1.   Our young adult children can become our treasured friends! Fun to hang out with, interesting to talk with, they can teach us fresh ways of looking at life and help us discover new depths of ourselves. 


2.   You can take your little girl to Gymboree, but your young adult daughter can take you to a Zumba class. Or to workout at the gym and relax in the hot tub. You can take your little boy to the pool, but your teen son can hike and explore the rocks by the ocean with you.


3.   Moms and daughters can be awesome travel buddies. Mia and I take road trips to Milwaukee just to savor delicious coffee at a favorite coffeehouse, followed by lunch at an iconic burger place. Girlfriend getaways have nothing on mom-daughter trips – we have a blast exploring LA, which mostly means juice shops, coffee shops and discovering (surprisingly yummy) vegan food. 


4.   We devoted a portion of their childhood to helping our children learn how others should and shouldn’t treat them. What a gift to have that lesson passionately returned to me by both of my children on separate occasions.  On one, I was having a disagreement (over text) with someone who was doing some work on our house. He was placing all the blame on me and not being very kind in the process. I was upset and close to believing him when my teenage son stepped in, gave his objective opinion and emphatically explained how I was being mistreated. Another time, I was doing several things to ease someone’s load and make them happy. They took advantage, got a bit demanding and spoke to me somewhat disrespectfully. Caught up in my efforts I was overlooking how I was being treated. Mia pulled me aside and reminded me that regardless of the circumstances, I deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.


5.   Forgiveness has powers we might see more clearly through the eyes of our young adult kids. Mia took a college class about forgiveness and shared the meaningful insights with me. We can forgive those who’ve hurt or mistreated us so we can heal and not carry that burden with us. Forgiving doesn’t mean “it’s okay.” It just means we’re letting go of our hurt and anger so it doesn’t continue to harm us. This includes forgiving ourselves so we can heal and grow, and because we also deserve grace. 


This is just a sampling of what we can learn from our children, and a taste of the sweetness they continue to infuse into our lives as they grow. 

My big kids inspire me to strive to be my best self – I witness the exceptional people they are becoming and, amidst my awe, I find myself wanting to live up to that standard. And that is pretty sweet.

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  1. I think it’s sweet when my girls ask for advice. They haven’t always wanted that. 🙂

    1. Such a rewarding feeling! 💝 And it’s a pretty special feeling when THEY can give us advice!

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