No matter what age, they are always kids

by Peter Weinberger

They say your kids grow up quickly. They say the time will fly by. They say as a teen, she will lose her mind. They say he will do stupid things. You know what? They were right.

I am the father of two adult children. My son Matt is 24 and discovering life as a working stiff in Blacksburg, Virginia. My daughter Collette is a junior at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. And I’m proud to say I still refer to them as “the kids.” Even though they grow up, they never really grow up to this parent. My wife Betsy and I consider ourselves lucky they both are managing life so well.

It makes me think back to my 20s, when life seemed simpler. But, then again, there were no computers or Internet. I was told long ago that my greatest legacy in life would be my kids. That is not only true, it’s something I can easily live with.

For those of you with young children, I can promise that as a parent, you will always think of your kids as kids, no matter what age. The worrying never stops, the need for money is continuous—I own a “Bank of Dad” T-shirt—and the connection to family will change, but remain strong.

Some parents have favorite ages of their children. Although not many highlight those teenage years, adulthood means they eventually leave your house. That time is filled with emotions ranging from great joy to sadness. It definitely leaves a parent with a new sense of freedom. Now I spend my free time planning my next visit to see the kids.

When they were young, I thought our kids listened more. We were clear authority figures. Then they started school and listening became an option.

By their teen years, I tried to resist the urge to send them to the doctor for a hearing check. Of course they were fine, but the doctor did explain what happens to the teenage brain during those growth years. I asked if medication would help. He said I was fine.

Since my son Matt played sports, I enjoyed a long period of meeting other parents, going to events and even coaching games. I was very proud of how well my son played baseball. Just like dad. All that time we put in practicing really paid off. Then Matt turned 12 and decided he liked golf instead. His baseball gear is still collecting dust in our garage. The good news is he still plays golf. Whatever makes him happy.

After Matt graduated with a business degree from Virginia Tech, Betsy was helping him land that first accounting or corporate-type job. Matt has the perfect mentality for the business side. Then, out of nowhere, he gets interested in shooting video/photography and in computers and technology. I’m thinking, “Where did he get that from?” Hint: it wasn’t from his mother.

Needless to say, I still get those special looks from my wife when Matt talks about those must-have gadgets. Just for the record, small drones for personal use do have a purpose.

Collette was always the creative type…just like dad! Always interested in photography, it was a joy working through those dry sweats after loaning her my expensive camera for school.

Ever the socialite, we would worry she wasn’t focused enough on school. So much to talk about and not enough time. Then she went to college and realized good things happen with hard work. Collette started eating healthy and lectured us on our food intake. When she began telling me more and more what to do, I couldn’t help but think…just like mom!

Even as adults we all still enjoy going on family vacations, we still get up early on Christmas morning, still talk about friends and school, actually eat more meals together and always still joke around and act like kids—something my mother passed on to me. The more kids change, the more they stay the same. In our eyes at least. Go figure.

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