As a parent, no matter what, your children will always be your “babies” to you. But sometimes there’s a moment when you realize that your little baby is actually all grown up.
Here, parents share the moment they realized their children had become adults.
When my son had his son.
I saw him holding his boy, the way I once held him, and I had this moment of complete, warm, silent peace. I knew that the world would not come to a bad end, that our problems could be solved, and that there would be as many generations in the future as there have been in the past.
It was great and I think about it all the time.
My daughter went away to school and lived in an apartment with other students. She came home about a month later for the weekend and I noticed she cleaned the kitchen after using it. Her bed was made and her room tidy every morning. She never would have done that a month prior. I was stunned that she changed her habits so quickly. She grew up quick.
My wife passed away when my son was almost 14. Knowing that my wife’s condition was terminal, I worried that he would have severe difficulties after she passed. However, it was I who had a breakdown and my son took care of me for months afterwards.
I’ll never forget …
I have 4 kids, three are 27, one is 22. I would say that it came on me slowly that they were now adults. Not one particular incident, but more a series of choices they made that were ones where they put aside current happiness for long-term rewards. They were making adult decisions in adult ways, and deserved to be treated as adults.
Of course, it is amusing to me to see them act in childish ways any time they all get together, because no matter how adult they are, they will always be siblings.
When my daughter started wanting to pay her own way when I would take her to the movies or out to eat. I’m still not used to this concept.
One of my three daughters is 8 years old.
Last Halloween we go out trick or treating, and we get back home early because their bags were full and it was getting cold. Someone knocks on the door, obviously a kid, and my wife and l look at each other with the”oh crap” face. We forgot to get candy to hand out! My eight year old reads our faces, grabs her stash, opens the door, and gives a big heaping handful of treats to Cinderella, and calls her”your majesty”.
The other two, (10 and 3), wordlessly proceed to do the same thing. We spent the next two hours on the porch, handy my daughters’ candy out to the neighborhood kids till their bags were empty.
No one even complained. I was so proud of this selfless act. The next day after work, I bought the biggest bucket I could find, and filled it full of candy. Not the crappy double bubbles and tootsie rolls either. I told them how much I loved them and how proud I was of what they did that night. They’re still children, but that was the most adult thing I’ve ever seen them do.
My son was home for a few weeks from the marine corps. During this time he was injured pretty severely in a car accident when a drunk driver hit his vehicle. While injured from the collision and waiting for the authorities to arrive, my son pulled the unconscious man, who had just dealt him injuries that would require over a year of physical therapy, from his vehicle to make sure he was okay.
The moment that my daughter came to me for advice on buying a house.
She had been working hard for the past 3 years at a job she really loved, putting everything she had into it. Instead of spending her money on extracurricular or going out with friends, she saved big time.
Now she has enough to make a down payment on a house. It just made me so proud that not only would she come to me for advice, but that she had put away enough to make the payment herself.
My daughter dropped out of college at age 18 to marry her 27-year-old boyfriend. She would not listen to anything her mother or I had to say about it. Because she had no college degree or work experience, she spent a year working for a telephone answering service.
Then she came back to us and said, “I screwed up. I shouldn’t have dropped out. Can you help me go to nursing school?” We did help her, as much as we could (about $800 a month.) Her husband didn’t like it though, and presented her with an ultimatum, “Either me or nursing school.” She divorced his sorry ass, and went on to become an intensive care unit registered nurse. When she got her first ICU job, that’s when I realized she was now an adult. After ten years experience, she makes about $80,000 a year.
My mom told me about the moment she realized I was an adult.
I got a job in the oilfield out of college. I spent the first two years of my career working in the field out of my home town. After that, I moved across the country for an office job. When I came home for Thanksgiving; I caught a flight home right after work. She was incredibly surprised to see me in nice clothes, a nice jacket, and a clean cut hair. In her words, “I was expecting to see you, but not a grown up version of you.” She took a few seconds to recognize me. It felt good.
I have only one kid myself, and the relationship I have with him wasn’t the greatest during his youth.
The day I really realized that my boy was growing up was not too long ago. I was doing some work around the yard, and he came and asked “Dad, can I ask you a question?” so I said, “Sure!”
He then asked me “Can I borrow fifty bucks?” To which I replied “If the only reason you asked me about my pay is so that you can borrow some money to buy some random bottle of booze, you can get away from my house. You know I don’t support that.”
He quietly looked at me, thinking to himself in deep thought. I just got angrier about my boy’s question, “How dare he ask me about money after all I did for him?” But then I thought,” Maybe there’s something he really needs for those fifty bucks.” So I say “I’m sorry son. Here’s the cash.”
A day later he comes back, and I ask him where he needed the cash for. His reply was, “I needed to buy a good pair of pants so I can apply for this job.”
Needless to say, I was incredibly proud of him. From that moment I realized that my little boy had become a man. Prioritizing a job above messing around with his friends.
My father has had two sons go to war. I remember surprising him and my mother when I received R&R from Iraq my first deployment.
Most of all, I remember leaving in the airport to go back. I was on one of those little flat escalator things, whatever the fuck they are called, in uniform and going back to war. My dad just stood past security and watched me the whole way. I remember casually looking at him the whole.
I know what went through his head. His son was going back to war. He watched me the whole time because I know he knew it could be the last time he saw me in full health. I was no longer his jack ass kid who fucked around in high school and did well in college only to join the Army. I was leaving him as his son who was going to do what I chose. I can’t imagine what he thought because I may not have come back.
I did come back and came back more multiple times. I’ll never forget though hugging him and saying good bye that time. It was as if it could be our last.
It wasn’t so much when I considered him an adult, but it was one of those “when did he get old enough for this to be a thing” moments…
For part of his Christmas present during his senior year of high school, he wanted to take an avalanche safety and rescue course. So, I called to get him registered. The woman on the phone was taking all the relevant information and said, “I’m going to mail the paperwork to you. He’ll need to fill out the forms and bring them, and there’s a release for you to sign.” Then she stopped and said, “Oh, never mind. He won’t need your permission since he’ll have turned 18 by then.”
Realizing my baby boy could sign up for something like an avalanche rescue course without my permission was a big deal.
When he finished basic training in the US Army. We went to visit him and for the first time I truly understood what the saying meant, “to stand tall”. That little kid suddenly had broad shoulders, was standing straight, and had an air of confidence about him that could not be denied. He “walked tall” as well, showing us around camp; pointing out the different sections of where he had done his training. I could not have been more proud of the man he had become in those moments.
Of course, a few weeks later after they assigned him permanent housing at his new base he locked himself out of his apartment and ended up having to call his mom for help/advice because he didn’t know what to do!
My son is 30 years old and has been a surgery resident for 3 years now. I still mostly see him as my baby boy. I haven’t gotten to see him as much as I would like since he went to medical school at 23, so a lot of the maturation he has gone through is lost on me. But one Thanksgiving, two years ago, he was on call and had to leave in the middle of dinner for an emergency operation.
The way he confidently got out of his chair, stood up tall and put on his jacket before kissing me and other family members goodbye, knowing an hour later he would be operating on somebody, was really a ‘wow’ moment for me. It was one of the first times I saw him as a grown, responsible man with a place in this world besides being just my baby boy.
As a child of wonderful parents, this topic has been of interest to me lately, as I’ve been going through some medical weirdness.
Informing my mother that the MRI found a bone tumor that looked aggressive, and I would be going to get a CT, bone scan, and biopsy to see if it’s malignant or not was totally fine. She essentially just said, “Oh wow, that’s awful. Glad you’re on top of your appointments. Let me know how it goes.” She understood that I’ve got it under control, and can handle it.
On the other hand, my boyfriend’s parents (BF and I have been together 3.5 years, living together for 2.5) freaked out and insisted that his father come to my appointments with me because we “needed an adult involved.” This was shocking to me, since my mother had never doubted my position as an individual capable of making decisions, even when I was a teenager. Suddenly, this man, who I met when I was already legally an adult, was treating me as though I was a kid.
We made it perfectly clear that when they turned 18, they had to be in college or have a full time job. college got to live with us free, non-college had to pay rent which we saved for their down payment and move in expenses on their own pad. All 4 kids 21-25 are doing well and supporting themselves. We feel as parents we have to be a safety net for our kids, not a crutch.
Honestly? About twenty minutes ago, when my 17 yer old gave me all of her savings – about a thousand dollars – to try to save her cat.He’s been hospitalized since Thursday, and I can’t keep up, especially with the ER vet being 3x the cost of his regular vet. Her last cat died a year ago due to pica, and this little guy is pretty important to her. So yeah, I guess right now, when she immediately offered everything she’s got to save something she loves.