Susie has a meltdown in the supermarket and ruins your planned outing for the day.

Johnnie wakes up during the night, throws up all over the bed and transforms your upcoming day at the office into a day at home cleaning up and coaxing ginger ale into his stomach.

You are tired, frustrated, annoyed, believing you are trapped in a world of small people whose only aim is to drive you up a wall.

At some point during all this, most every parent wishes or says, “Can’t they grow up faster?? Please!!”

A word to the wise, from the other side of parenthood:  DON’T EVER SAY THIS, BECAUSE YOU NEVER WANT IT TO COME TRUE!!

You see, having adult children is a bittersweet experience.  Oh, they are still your children. But only sort of.  You are no longer the epicenter of their life.  You are not the expert, the fixer, the adventure planner and generally the grand poohbah of the world as you once were.  You have morphed, through no wish of your own, into a bit player in a soap opera.

Soap opera?  Well, the drama certainly is occasionally there.   After all, the issue is no longer whom to call about a playdate.  The questions are more like: Whom will they marry?  Is this the one?  When will they have children?  Do they know enough to pull it off?  What about their careers?  Do they have enough money?  And so on…

And there you are, standing off to the side, an occasional walk-on in the grand play called your children’s lives.

Being a grandparent offers a possibly bigger part, as you have played the role of young parent before… and actually remember some of the scenes from that earlier play.  But the cast sometimes gets cranky about letting you have too much of a part to play this time.  So, back to waiting in the wings.

You love your adult children without question.  You worry about them, their place in the world, their ability to move ahead.  You are there to give comfort, encouragement, praise and whatever help they ask of you.  Instantly.  Without hesitation.  You are the parents.  That is your job.

But how do you retain the ties of love as you and your children now walk separately through life?

Our belief is the link is kept through the shared experience called memories that holds us together as families and that keeps the strong bonds of love alive.

As soon as the most favorite story comes rolling out around the Thanksgiving table and everyone has a laugh or smile about the old days when the kids were small, that is the moment.

Your kids are once again, for just an instant, small and you are once again young and important in that special way in their lives.  Just for the moment, they are drawn again to you and you to them, because of that time so long ago.

You retell the time the Halloween lipstick ruined your corduroy coat because the little witch became shy and wrapped herself in your legs…

Or the times Buster and his friends would sit with the Halloween candy, trading it between them and dreaming of treats to enjoy for days to come…

These memories and a million more….

So, you have a critical job as a parent!  You must create, retain, sharpen, hone and preserve the memories between you and your children.

You have to make the moment, see it as somehow special, that it is somehow representative of the time.

You then have to repeat it to your children, make them remember it, tell it often to your family, smile about it warmly as you all relive it.    Many times over…

The diapers will fade, the tantrums will give way…it all changes… but the memories stay.

And when time flees by, as it will, when your children are adults long on their own way, it is these shared memories you will have between you that will keep you close, that will keep the bonds strong and keep them always unbroken.

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