I'm a little ahead of myself here... what do you love about your big kid?
Each stage they go and grow through is as good as it gets - at the moment.
In the now, I love watching what an independent and self-assured young lady my daughter is. I love talking to her, hearing her opinions (even when they are opposite of mine), watching her laugh while with her friends, holding her when she's upset. My son... I love his sharing with me the wonder of his new life as a college student. I love that he has always marched to his own drummer, with no care whether others heard the beat or not. I love how kind and empathetic he is, and how he embraces anyone, whether they conform to "normal" or not. His love for life is infectious - and knowing that he has positively affected so many people and is so well loved warms my heart.
Honestly - it can't possibly get better than THIS. Until it does.
I've finally accepted that it's pretty hard to "ruin" a child and I'm a much better parent for it. We can really go places, do things.... nothing like hiking the Grand Canyon with your brood, wading through the Narrows at Zion National Park, ect. We can discuss books, theatre, politics, religion, movies, anything! They don't always agree with me which actually makes me more proud. Watching their first real crush... frightening but wow, so wonderful. There is no greater pride than watching their good choices and taking comfort in how well they manage their mistakes. Relationships with other parents is better. You come across less nuerotic competiveness lol. You start collecting parent friends you have something in COMMON with as opposed to the common bond ending with having a toddler. Plus, DH and I have been able to rediscover our marriage which never faultered but was sort of consummed by "little kidness" for awhile. I'd forgotten how great WE are together.
I can't begin to really express how more connected I feel to the kids now than when they were little. Yes, you have to work harder for that connection but it also gains more meaning. When your kid comes to you because they want YOU in particular as opposed to your being the only option... that's pretty great.
I love that they go out into the world on their own so much more now and that they bring back stories and thoughts and interesting pieces of themselves and their days.
I love seeing the proof that the lessons & examples of compassion, kindness and love that dp and I have worked so hard to instill actually sunk in.
My 12 year old is seriously the coolest kid on the planet. (And thank you for giving me the chance to brag!) Last year she was in the musical at the highschool, made straight As, was a cheerleader and went to district in chess. But the thing she did the whole school year that made me the proudest was taken a special needs student under her wing at school and help her out. The other girl was in the class only part time, and my DD asked the teacher to sit them together and always partner them up. The other girl was able to spend more time mainstreamed because of my DD.
My older DD loves to read and it's wonderful to talk to her about classic literature. It's just cool to see her having her own views on things. She has some sn that are more challanging as she gets older, but she's still amazing in her own way.
Looking back, I really LOVED her grade school years. I never thought I would like those best, but in hindsight I really did. I thought I would dearly miss the baby years, or the preschool years, (and I do) But, my favorite times were from Kindergarten through fifth grade.
I loved being a dance mom. If you'd have told me THAT 20 years ago, I would have laughed. But, I miss the smell of sparkle spray, and hair spray. I miss stuffing her skinny legs into tights, I miss standing off stage watching her dance.
I miss when she and her friends would spend hours playing Uno. I loved her choices of friends. I loved hunting for frogs at night, or meeting friends at the ice cream place for no reason at all. I loved buying her cute hair thingys.
I hated homework. I hated her messy room. I hated braces. I hated trying to buy her pants. I wasn't too thrilled with science fairs, or friend drama in 6th grade. But, we got through it. She's still a pig. But, other than extreme slobbishness, I wouldn't change a thing.
Enjoy the now!
I do love my dd more and more with each passing day, so I don't imagine that will change in the future. I guess I worry that she will become sullen and pouty and close herself off from me. I have hope after reading your posts that this often isn't the case! Rather than dread the school years and young adult years ahead (or mourn the passing of the baby years), I will think of your stories and just "enjoy the now" of every stage of life she is in (and the ones that I am in as well!) Thanks everyone!
LOL The other day my son posted on FB how he ran up the Rocky steps in Philly... and tripped, fell and skinned his elbow and knee. I remembered kissing the boo-boos, then putting on bandaids. Then he told me that he cleaned the scrapes, put on neosporin and a bandaid. Times change.
But he was home this w/e... and I still got great hugs.
Some day, I know from what I've seen she is going to have a wonderful impact in the world somewhere. It could be a huge, global impact, or just helping one person or one family in a way that greatly improves their lives. I just know that at some point, her drive to help others is going to bring about something wonderful.
Part of me can't wait for DS to get to this point, the other part of me wants him to never, every grow up.
Thank you so much for your insights. It is very true that someday I will miss all of this, so I am trying to just memorize ds's baby sighs and dd's hugs and etch them into my mind. I have a lot of exciting times ahead though, and I will try my hardest to treasure them all
It has been a delight to watch them figure out who they are. It's a blast to be able to go on a ski trip together, and let them worry about their own warm clothes and feeding schedule. We ski together because we want to - not because we have to keep an eye on them, or because they're afraid to venture out on their own (they do that too).
It is extremely rewarding to watch them navigate live, following in our footsteps to an extent, but finding their own path as well.
and i can so relate.
having a child is so so so bittersweet.
while i love watching what my dd is becoming, at the same time i miss who she is leaving behind.
as time passes while we connect there is a separation and its wonderful to watch glimpses of the woman i see in her.
and like MD i totally believe my dd will do the same. "her drive to help others is going to bring about something wonderful." helping others or reaching out to others is who dd is and has been doing so since infancy.
i love, love, love, how we can talk about things and dd holds her own and questions my views.
i notice through 'those moments' i have far more compassion than i did when she was a toddler, instead of the frustration i felt then. the other day she started spinning me around the playground in frustration and to show her anger towards me. she was absolutely furious and wanted to lash out. i allowed her to do whatever she wanted which was to pull me by my shirt. the whole time i was trying my best not to laugh. when i pick my sweet 8 year old up she had made me a card over recess about how much she regrets pushing me around. she felt bad for a whole, whole week inspite of me talking to her and telling her it was ok. i wasnt mad at all but i can understand her need to vent. <sniff>
I love to see how values that my DH & I encouraged in them in the early years start to show up in their adolescent words and actions (& not always in expected ways).
I love how sometimes they compete & wrestle with each other in genuine affection, & it doesn't turn into a complete meltdown (this is recent).
That's a few things.
My son is a love bug, very sweet and affectionate. I'm amazed by his thinking processes & comments, his reflections about the world, the new things he learns, his confidence in himself & his skills, the way he socializes and laughs, his sense of humor. The list goes on. Watching our children grow is endlessly fascinating.
Strange, I'm pregnant w/ the second & dread having a baby again and going through the baby stages. When I was in those years w/ my first, they seemed utterly adorable & I mourned their loss even while we were in them. But now that I've experienced a "big kid", I can't fathom finding much interest in the younger years again (ie. 0-3)... though intuitively I know that biology will kick in, and since the second is a brand new individual, it will once again all be captivating. Funny how it all works.
I love that my kids are so independant and that I have so much freedom. My DH has a business dinner pop up for last night, and he invited me along. So I went. I just told my kids good bye and left the house for several hours. I had a blast. A nice meal, fun conversation, all very grown up stuff. When the kids were little, it would have been too late to find a sitter and a huge production even if we found one, so I would have stayed home and my Dh would have had all the fun.
My stepdaughter is gorgeous and popular and the type of girl who never would have had time for me in high school and yet her best friend in the world has Down Syndrome and DSD spends a lot of her time supporting Down Syndrome causes. I'm so proud of the wonderful woman she is becoming. Whatever your kids do, you always seem to think they are the greatest thing on earth. I love that about children. They start with so much potential and watching them build on that is a miracle.