The Perks of Having Older Children

Our family, Nystroms, all together in 2011

Article by Wendy McCance

Tomorrow is the first day back to school for my kids.  I have spent some time mourning the fact that my youngest child has graduated from elementary school and my oldest is in her last year of high school.  They are all growing up way to fast.

I had focused on losing the sweet moments of artwork brought home, school parties and the cute parade of children all dressed up in their Halloween costumes.  I loved the smell of the elementary school and the smallest children walking behind their teacher in a single file row.

Today I got a glimpse of the upside to having older kids.  I was sitting on the sofa working on my computer.  My two younger kids were a sea of activity sitting in front of the sofa on the floor.  The schedules were out and the kids were doing a checklist to make sure they had all of their school supplies ready to pack into their book bags.  My daughter was helping my son organize his supplies so that he could neatly pull out a complete package of items needed for each particular class.  When everything was packed and ready to go, the kids jumped up and went into the kitchen to pack their lunches.  After the lunches were completed, they went upstairs and pulled out the clothes that they would wear for the first day of school.  This was completed with a small fashion show and a debate over which shoes my daughter should wear.

I went out onto the porch with my husband, and as we sat their talking, it dawned on me.  I hadn’t helped them get ready for school, at all.  I hadn’t even had to nag them to get their things together for tomorrow.  It was the craziest feeling of freedom.  It felt like the same relief I had felt when the kids were small and were done wearing diapers, or the car seat was finally taken out of the car for good.

Yes, the kids are growing up.  Yes, I miss them in their smaller form.  But, who wouldn’t be thrilled to not have to pack up three book bags, go over each schedule and make three lunches.  The kids are getting older, but the perks are wonderful.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

15 thoughts on “The Perks of Having Older Children

  1. I’m feeling your happiness! My high school sophomore filled out her own paperwork, solicited my signatures, packed her backpack, and apparently chose the right outfit to don on the first day. She’s wonderful, and so is her independence. My university daughter still has a few more days of holiday, but she’ll take care of herself as well. There are so many wonders of parenting at every age. Thanks for the delightful post!

  2. Now, did you wake up and realise, I was only dreaming? I only had the one child and he still wouldn’t organise himself. I do miss having a child at home - sometimes but it’s all part of the seasons of life I guess. I never miss a chance in the super market to tell mums with under fives, that they are the happiest times.

    • Nope, wasn’t dreaming, just truly surprised. As the kids have gotten older, I try to stay in the moment and enjoy it all. You can get so caught up in thinking about what comes next and looking ahead that the current experiences in your life get muted. Then, you look back and wonder where the time went.

  3. Having high school and college-aged kids means more changes - and more emotions. I thought it would just be getting easier having the freedom, but there’s a little misty-eyed aspect to it all.

  4. Wendy,
    Although my children are all grown (the oldest is 43), I still remember when it hit me that they were “older children.” No longer did I have to be in the bathroom at bath time! I was free to sip a cup of tea at the end of the day, alone with my thoughts or chatting with my husband. Ahhh! Of course, as one by one they moved out and began to live life on their own, I began to desperately miss the hearing theme song of Sesame Street. But on the upside, I no longer had to constantly keep tabs on three adventurous young people and had the freedom of coming and going as I pleased as well. Now, I look longingly at young families with young children and wish I had those days back. I didn’t appreciate them as much when I was living them as I do now. But I remind myself that I had that season, I lived those days. I have the best of both of those worlds now. I watch my daughter bath my grandsons and then I go home and sip tea.

    • Beautiful thoughts. I keep teasing the kids that by the time they are ready to leave, I will be rich with a home big enough for several complete families to live in it. of course my kids roll their eyes and say no thanks. :)

      • LOL….yes. Mine now live anywhere between 10-18 hours away from me and I often think I would love it if I could buy a huge piece of land and we could all build homes on it. I think it could work! :o)

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