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When the Kids Grow Up (Redux)

January 5, 2020

Another Way for week of January 3, 2020

When the Kids Grow Up (Redux)

I took a breather from column writing as we enjoyed a “late Christmas” with our family, and resurrected and updated this column from 1990, thirty years ago, dreaming of when our kids would be grown up. I’ve included my 2020 updates in italics.]

We all know that childhood is characterized by frequent sighs of “When I grow up,” heard with increasing anxiety and independence as kids get older. Now I realize that parents have frequent sighs of their own, mostly starting with “When the kids grow up.”

I was trying to find the front of my refrigerator the other day when I decided that when my kids are grown up, the front of my refrigerator will be so clean I’ll be able to see myself on it and furthermore I won’t keep a single drawing or memo there and I won’t even own any refrigerator magnets! [Ha! My refrigerator door is still full of pics of the grandkids, their drawings, and yes, plenty of magnets.]

When my kids are grown up I’ll go to the mall without making three different emergency trips to the bathroom. [Who goes to the mall?]

When the kids are grown you won’t see shoes permanently planted in my living room. [Oops, wrong again.]

I’ll drive right by McDonald’s and eat something nice and Chinese. [Now it’s senior decaf coffee, to go.]

I’ll go to the doctor’s office and read grown up magazines instead of yet another repeat of The Cat in the Hat. [Um, usually read my smart phone now.]

I’ll walk by the most dreaded place in the grocery store and not even buy any gum or mints. [Wrong again.]

I’ll sit down to breakfast without people fighting over who gets to read which cereal box. [Blast from the past.]

I’ll go to the mall without going to the toy store. [Not many toy stores anymore, with the advent of Amazon and online shopping.]

I’ll take a nice hot bath without removing 42 bath tub toys first. [This one is true. Still a few toys there for when the grandkids visit.]

I’ll leave on a business trip without worrying that the school will call and say one of the kids is sick. [I do not miss this!]

I’ll wake up on a Saturday morning and bake bread, sew a skirt, or take a hike in the woods at my whim just like I did when I was younger instead of yelling for the 99th time, “Do you have your rooms cleaned up yet?” [I made them clean their rooms?]

When the kids grow up my husband will be able to finish a complete sentence, maybe even a whole conversation with me without interruption. We’ll go out to eat and get by for a small sum instead of a ransom. [My husband would say now I interrupt him. And yes we can eat out much cheaper sharing the smallest size of fries and buying senior drinks.]

I’ll sit through a worship service without shushing anybody or passing out pencils, gum, or offering money. [Update: the three to seven-year-old’s at our church now go upstairs for their own lesson during the sermon and I frequently help with that.]

I’ll suffer occasional pangs of nostalgia for all of the above, but altogether miss these things about as much as I now miss changing diapers in the middle of the night. [I do not miss diapers, but ponder our own eventual need for them, most likely. Sigh!]

Of course, I thought growing up to be a wife and mother and have a career would be indefinitely better than having to study and be bossed around and live on an allowance. [Enjoying being a wife and grandmother now that I’m mostly retired.]


I now (2020) realize empty refrigerator doors look kind of lonely and where would I keep all our doctor appointment cards anyway without all those magnets? Happy New Year!


If you’re a younger parent, what are the things you look forward to as your children grow? If you’re older, what do you miss or not miss? Share here!

If you are at the stage of your children soon leaving home, you might benefit from this beautiful book by Brenda Yoder, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind.


Or send your comments to: or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.


  1. Happy New Year, Melodie!

    I related to many of your anecdotes, including the pasted-up fridge. Since me moved, I don’t allow myself to put anything on the front of the refrigerator – only the grocery list on the side. When I become completely digitized, I won’t even allow myself THAT!

    My 4 grands are processing through the teens at WARP speed: it’s scary! (Two have girlfriends and learners’ permits.)

  2. Girlfriends! For real. I imagine their parents’ heads are turned along with yours.
    And congrats on your cleared off refrigerator! Hmmm. Maybe some day.
    P.S. Mom said your letter in response to hers made her day too! Thanks for writing her back so quickly. We’re thankful for her good health and mind. Blessings.

  3. I loved this! And yes you did make us clean our rooms, though not *every* Saturday, and some versions of clean were cleaner than others.

    • Glad you could appreciate this! And thanks for affirming I tried to make you clean your rooms and your assessment is spot on. Thanks for commenting, dearie.

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