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How a Dad-Daughter Relationship Blossomed from a Sweet Vitamin Ritual

When we think of vitamins, we think of strengthening our immune systems, helping our bodies to be healthier. We don’t think of them as fortifying our personal relationships, but this is the unexpected power of vitamins that I witnessed.

 

You probably guessed already that this is not about the vitamins themselves. And you’re right. It started months ago, right around the beginning of the stay-home orders. Both of our college kids were back home with us and we were settling in to living as a family again. My daughter, who just finished her junior year in college, has been loving these gummy vitamins for over a year now. They are made by Smarty Pants and she actually gets the kids version because they offer a Cherry-Berry flavor – the best flavor by far, according to her. 

 

One evening after dinner, my daughter wandered into the living room, where her dad was watching tv and playing online chess, and offered him some of her vitamins. She raved about how tasty they were and how they were also approved as a respected brand. So he tried one and was hooked! They both agreed the vitamins tasted like candy and made it easy to want to take your vitamins. That’s a win in itself. 

But something much more remarkable happened.

Conversation about gummy vitamins turned into a question about how our daughter’s day was, and blossomed from there. They talked about all kinds of things, from the mundane to more meaningful things, including how my husband was feeling about the first virtual conference he was hosting for his business and how each was managing in these challenging times. 

 

And so a ritual, a truly special ritual, was formed.

Every night sometime after dinner, Mia brings David vitamins and settles in for cozy conversation. Whereas before, a deep conversation was more of an occasional thing, they now occur most nights. It’s not about their length – some might only last 5 minutes and others might last a half hour – it’s about their substance and the connection. When I first noticed this it just really touched my heart.  It’s truly precious to witness this unfold. 

 

Communication is key.

There’s learning in this for all parents. Opening the door to communication with our kids, and to meaningful connection, starts with being accessible. It might be tempting to hide away in an office or bedroom to relax, watch tv or even get some extra work done. But by hanging out in a common area, like a family room or kitchen, kids are more likely to seek us out.  

 

Another lesson is that we parents can learn a lot from our kids! And when we give them a chance to teach us something, we reinforce their feeling of competence and encourage them to believe in themselves. Plus we gain new knowledge or fresh perspective that we may have missed. In this case, not all vitamins that are high quality and effective have to taste horrible or be hard to swallow. 

 

My personal favorite learning in this, the real treasure, was watching something simple evolve into something kind of magical. Yes, vitamins are good for the body. But also, at least in this case, they were also so good for the soul. 


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