When It Happens

It will happen.  Those moments in Momdom where all is rewarded.  Life is made right.  And as a Mom you are redeemed.  I’m sure this happens in Daddom as well, but I’ve no experience living there.  Dads will have to confirm or deny if they understand this.  All of our questionable parenting moments, our parenting faux pas, all of our take a shot in the dark parenting decisions, every horrific home done hair cut…..


By what was done right.

The faux pas turn in to legendary stories.

The things you have done right turn you in to the parent they hope to be.

The first thing to happen that signifies  their childhood has officially turned into ‘adulthood’…..  And mind you there is no set age for this occurrence.  The age range could be a very mature and wise 16 year old or a 43 year old ‘adult’.

1.  They say they are sorry.  It will happen.  At some point one child will utter words you never expected.  “Mom, I’m sorry for all of the grief I’ve ever given you.”   Some may be overly dramatic (they think) by throwing in an “I don’t know how you kept from throttling me”.   Some may be ever so emotional and feel they owe you tremendously for all you put up with from them.

2.  They admit you know something.  This can feel like one of those back handed compliments.  But when it sounds like this “mom I can’t believe you know that at your age”  it’s probably more of a turning point in their perceptions.  They don’t know how to handle this realization and it just comes out all wrong.   And they start to get that wide eyed look when you say something that registers as “smart” or dare I say “brilliant”.   When they first start to see and hear your wisdom for the truth that it is they may appear dazed or startled.  It’s okay.  They’ll get used to it.  And soon enough….start to ask for advice.  You should probably practice your reaction to this.  You don’t want to appear too needy or grateful for this.   It could set things back a few years.   Be careful.

3.  They look forward to spending time with you.  Again, do not, I repeat, do not over react to this.  It might scare them.  And you may think it seems like a regression to when they were two and you were not allowed to leave their sight.  Another caution….they may be very surprised if you do not want to spend every spare second with them.   Well, as any parent knows, it’s not that you don’t want to.  It’s that you still have to work, sleep and do yard work.   If you are super lucky they will come over and work in the yard along with you just to have time with you.   Do your cardio work out to keep your heart healthy.   And eat your Cheerios (I hear they are really good for your heart).  This one may need you to put a little extra effort in to your health regiment.  Be ready.

4.  I wish I knew what to do like you always did.  Truth is the best thing in life. I have no problem saying  I was clueless.  I just tried to do what I thought was best.  It helps them know that you weren’t always as perfect as they will start to believe you are.   And they will.  They will begin to understand and know without a doubt how much you love them.

And when it happens….

When your children say thank youhey wanna do something with me today,  and  I opened my mouth to talk to the kids and you came out-and you were right!

When it happens….

Crap.   It means we’re old enough for them to be old enough to respect and admire us.

5.  They start wondering if we aren’t too old to be acting the way we act.  We know we aren’t too old.  We are perfectly aged.  And enjoying life because we have learned so many of the lessons that our children can’t learn from us telling them about it.  They must learn on their own.  And they realize it.

When all of these things happen-

It is good.

It is very, very good.

34 thoughts on “When It Happens

  1. So true Colleen. The other day Brooke my oldest told me that I was her best friend. I loved it but then started worrying just like when she was little about how I could get her more friends.


  2. Number 1 Colleen. Touched a nerve.

    At 31 I feel I am giving my mum more grief than at any point since birth.
    Her and my dad were winding down, retirement just around the corner. Then….WHACK…. I need them more than ever.

    They have taken it in their stride. Never complaining, never resenting.

    I need to give them more of those moments, maybe they don’t realise how much I appreciate them.

    Thanks Colleen


    • Steven, you are a trooper. Of course your parents aren’t complaining or resenting. They love you. What happened was an accident. I think they know you can’t apologize for something you never intended, ever, to happen.

      Husband once told me that apologizing for something you do, and then repeatedly doing it again, with an apology…. is cruel. And I agree. Since then I have begun to see how apologies really work. In my opinion that is. Heaven knows I have my own quirky way of seeing things. But we can apologize for things we had control of and chose to do, and have control of to not do again. That’s where the true essence of an apology lies. You say your sorry for something you had control of and made a bad decision as the first part, the second part of an apology is doing your best to make that better decision.

      I can’t begin to know how you feel. Though I suspect the “grief” I spoke about in my #1, and your mention of having their winding down years turned topsy turvy, does not compare to the grief they would be living with if they had lost you.

      I hope you give them MANY more of these parenting moments. It’s never too late to appreciate what our parents did, and do, for us. And if given a chance to ask your parents, I bet they would be able to give a litany of these moments where you made them feel like the best parents in the world. I know you’ve written about them before. But hopefully with the new directions of your blog we’ll catch more glimpses of the people who have such a funny, thoughtful and productive son.


      • Despite the lack of any intent, I still feel responsible for the consequences.

        Of course I would never have chosen for my parents to have been thrown this curveball but when all is said and done, if not for my actions life would still be ticking along as intended.

        I completely understand the theory, why apologise for something we could not control. It makes sense in my head but that doesn’t shake the guilt.

        Maybe I will drop that baggage someday but for now I’ll just need to hump it around with all the rest and work on showing that appreciation at every opportunity.


        • Steven I feel like I should apologize. I want to say I understand why you feel the way you do, but I don’t want to say I understand (could I be any more conflicting?) because it seems rude of me to say I understand when I have no idea what you truly go through, not having gone through it myself…

          So “wanting” to say I understand…maybe it would be more accurate of me to say “it makes sense to me, what you say”. I hope you can shake the guilt, I truly do. Maybe this process you’ve entered in to with the blogging will help be a part of that guilt dropping?

          I have carried huge amounts of guilt with me for years. I wish I had some magic formula on how to dump it, I would share it with you.

          But for now perhaps we could toss it back and forth between us. Maybe by you throwing your guilt at me, and me throwing mine at you, by using our words and tossing it over the ocean between us…perhaps some of it will get lost in the ocean. I am not minimizing our guilt loads at all. But truly see a way of processing it….hmmm, something to consider.

          And while you’re appreciating your parents? Tell them someone appreciates the thoughtful, thought provoking son they have produced and raised.


          • I don’t know when your guilt stems from but I am happy for you to fling it my way, anytime.

            It does help having someone point out the lack of logic behind my guilt, every time it sinks in that little bit deeper.

            The last paragraph, thank you so much 🙂 x


            • One of these days we’ll start a volley over the ocean. We’ll see how much we can dump in the ocean. Since it’s all biodegradable! 🙂

              And you are very welcome for how thoughtful you are! (I would put a surprise face emoticon here but I don’t know how).



  3. This happened when our daughter started college. Up until then it was the usual mouth and attitude. Then she got to school and found that as imperfect as we were, we never used her against each other nor did we deliberately screw with her (figuratively speaking). Many of her classmates had terrible parent situations and my daughter was appalled at the games the parents and kids played.

    It made a huge difference in getting along with her, even now as adults. You’re right – it does eventually happen but it can be a long time coming.



  4. Colleen, that is just plain sweet. And so truthful. I have share some of those light blub going on moments with my daughter and they makes you smile. Thanks, Bill


  5. What a feel good story for mamas… Hey, isn’t it Father’s Day on Sunday? lol

    But “mom I can’t believe you know that at your age”… That’s a good one! But while I am a father (and not a mother of which your story is written), I see the reward when she gets in behind the wheel…and drives the stick like I taught her! That’s when it happens! lol

    Great story putting everything into perspective, Chatter Master! Now if only ALL your kids will read your blog, that’s REALLY when it happens!


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