Kids. Grown Ones.

I am sort of a numbers nut. Not OCD, but I love the simplicity and significance of kidsnumbers; I love, okay, am slightly obsessed, with numerology. As far as a favorite, I’ve always fancied #5. Besides the fact that my whole birth-date is divisible by 5, I can remember clear as day feeling brilliant when I memorized the 5 x’s multiplication table… So, when I stumbled on to this site, “5 Things to Do Today” where every post centers around 5, I thought, yes, YES, this is a site to guest blog on! After a few false starts I found my topic: Kids. Grown ones.

When I was pregnant and sifting through piles of baby books on my night stand, those parenting guides were often my rudder on rocky waters. But now, now that my kids are essentially grown, living long miles away, in their own places, advancing in their chosen careers, I am stepping into new territory without a manual to be found. Upon reflection, I trust the basics must be the same as those that guided me for decades. So, here, I offer 5 tidbits of advice. Nothing earth shattering, perhaps nothing you haven’t thought before, but hopefully suggestions that bring an ease in your relationship with those pretty amazing young adults, your own grown kids!

  1. Maintain unconditional love. As hard as this was when your babies kept you up awake long past your bedtime and you thought you would never again feel normalcy, adult kids can test us some more! But equally true is that as much as those little swaddled bundles needed you then, your grown kids still need you now too. The world is not always an easy place and your kids, at any age, need to know there is someone that will show them nonstop love through all the upheavals, mishaps or changes life throws their way. If not you, then who, right?
  2. Listen to them. Remember listening to their magical cat tale or their detailed dream to play in the NBA or their angst-filled high school break-up? Grown kids have stories too… and if they are still willing to share them with you, be available to listen. Not to advise or weigh in necessarily, but to listen with all your attention. Their joys and their scrapes will inform you more about who they are than anything else; so listen and not only will you always know your kids but you will feel pride at how they are untangling life’s lessons.
  3. Visit their world. Even if you live within a close proximity, you may not know your grown kids as they are in the world. But seeing their neighborhoods, their crew, their routine, is so worthwhile and especially true if your kids live clear across the country.  How do they order a sandwich from their favorite deli? How do they greet their co-workers? Walk with them through a day, in effect, walk in their shoes and learn how the world views them. Your daughter may be managing far more than she lets on and your son might be working harder than anyone else in his office. Seeing our kids’ strengths helps us let go a bit, which is what all kids are waiting for, and yet many parents struggle to accomplish.
  4. Play. Remember how you couldn’t wait until little Suzie was old enough to kick a ball or young Mac could play an in-tune tune? Well, now that they are grown, running or singing, out there doing, just like you encouraged them for all those years, are you sitting nearby on a blanket, living as a pedestrian? Unless life has altered what you can or cannot do physically, (and if it has I encourage you to find other avenues of play) then be active with your kids. I don’t mean house painting, but some activity that you both loved then and still love now. Walking is the simplest, and can be done anywhere by most of us, so at the very least, invite your kids to take a walk and see what’s new in the world around you. Be sure to laugh along with the play.
  5. Continue to grow. Yes, be a model of learning for your kids. Just as they watched your every move when they were younger, and it seemed somewhat comical at first when you saw your own grumpy expression on their little unlined face, or the way they clumsily ran the bases just like you did, your grown kids will face life with a brave face or waiting in the shadows, just as you. I learned this from watching my parents and relatives march right into their 70’s and 80’s and never look back… Some lucky few are still marching, planning trips and new learning instead of living in sorrow and regret.

There you have it. 5. Perfect for today.

25 thoughts on “Kids. Grown Ones.

  1. Your kids are lucky to have a mom like you. It took me a while to learn #2. As a single mother, I used to worry about my kids so much I would chase them all the way to the door with a coat and mittens in my hands (even when they were teenagers—“Don’t forget, the windchill is below freezing tonight!”) and a earful of advice. When they were in college, I’d still call them and offer advice on everything from dating to how to season lentil soup, lol.

    Finally, my son, the youngest, told me, “Mom, I love you, but shut up and listen to me sometime!” I was hurt, but I realized he was right. I learned to listen, and now my kids have to prompt me to talk. I’ve learned so much from them and am grateful they were so patient with me. Listening to them has also kept me young. Who among my middle-aged friends would have told me about the Harlem shake? 😀


  2. I may not be a parent yet, but the list resonates with me. Especially 4 and 5. I think those set such positive, lifelong examples of how to act, interact, and find beauty. You must have been devastated when the Jackson 5 became the Jacksons. 😉


  3. Oh dear!!!! What wonderful advice….too late for me……but it’s a miracle you all survived…and survived so well….Good spirits,love life,forge ahead,know how to laugh,care for others less fortunate,loving,and……..
    When I went to Croatia,Medjugorje… is where the Blessed Mother has been appearing for 28 years… of the 6 visionaries gave a talk on parenting……it’s like going up the mountain…At the base,you can’t see the top and so you plod on ahead,doing your best for your child,or children…….but when your job is over(that is,they have left home),your job is NOT over……your guidance and love are necessary right until the end of your life……God (or Higher Power) has given you this sacred trust…. and it is never to be discarded….Well,ninecentgirl,you have it ,not only RIGHT,but so eloquently put!!!!!


  4. A beautiful article, and so true! Since my children were 2, 3, & 7, I joined the ranks of being a single mother. Although we had our many hardships, it brought us very close together since we were all we had. I was fortunate enough to be the one whose house all the kids wanted to hang out it – through HS, College, early 20’s. They are now all on their own, but we are still just as close as ever. And although they still have all the same friends they grew up with, it doesn’t mean I don’t worry about them now, as much as I did when they were young. A mother’s love is never lost!


  5. Thank you for sharing this wonderful advice and your experiences — so valuable! And I will have to say, I can’t believe these grown children are yours! You could be their sister! 🙂


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