Well, I might not be an expert in the area of “what to expect as your kids grow up”, but I have managed to keep two small humans alive for over a decade each, so I think that gives me a bit of a platform here.

As your kids grow from baby to toddler, toddler to child, and into their teen years, you already know to expect LOTS of changes. You probably know, or might have been told by many (so very many) well meaning friends and family members that you will soon be a chauffeur, short order cook and, a sibling referee on a daily basis. They’re right, by the way!

But I have found a few more expectations that no one told me about. Maybe they forgot, but it has been so fun, and slightly terrifying, to discover them on my own. So here is a short list of things to expect as your kids grow up.

Expect to face situations that you never even thought of when you were a child. Social media, a whole new way to “go to school,” a pandemic, and varsity theater try-outs (because who knew that was a thing?). There are so many times that I have to say to my kids, “When I was a kid, we didn’t have that, but I will figure it out with you.” And then we google…so much googling!

Expect to sit the sidelines sometimes. Watching your kids do something tough can be heart breaking and frustrating. You’ve lived through this stuff, you have the answers, you know exactly what to do to fix this problem. But they don’t always need, or even want us to fix it. And the worst part, when they do want you to swoop in and make their life easy, that’s when you know you have to step back. The struggle will make them stronger. Guide, support, and offers hugs, lots of hugs, from that sideline.

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Expect to be proud of them. Like crazy proud. Like, my kid clearly belongs in the olympics or maybe he’s the next Noble prize winner proud. Go ahead, brag a bit! I guarantee your hard work helped get them there and you’ve earned it!

Expect to be disappointed in their choices, never them, but definitely some of their choices. It’s ok. That Noble prize winning Olympic athlete won’t be perfect all the time. It’s ok to feel disappointment and even worry that it’s your fault they goofed up. It’s not, by the way.

Expect to apologize to them. A lot! Just like these amazing humans your are raising, you will make mistakes. You will lay awake at night, and worry that you handled the day all wrong. (Sorry to say the sleepless nights don’t totally go away after the baby phase.) You will have to look your children in the eyes and say “I am sorry….I was wrong,” or “I shouldn’t have done that.” Let them see you make amends for your mistakes!  Show them how it’s done.

Expect to be amazed. This one is my favorite and I love when it caches me by surprise.   I’m not talking simple, wow – that’s cool, kinda of amazed. I mean catch your breath, tears in your eyes amazed. This will happen one very normal day, when you’re standing in the kitchen and they walk in, or turn around. Something will catch your eye and you will be so blown away by your amazing child that you might just loose your balance. Enjoy this moment. It’s one of the greatest gifts we get as parents.

Finally, expect to lose chargers…ALL of them! You may have been told this one already, but it’s worth repeating. You will never again have a charger when you need it or where you left it. No one in your house will know where they are and your phone will be the only one with low battery. Buy an extra, or 10, and hide them. Tell no one where they are! Ever!!

Photo Credit :: Jessica Rockowitz Photography

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