Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

We have two generations of kids in our home. Our oldest three are in their 20s, and while last year we were lucky enough to have everyone home for Christmas, that’s not always a possibility. This year, Derek will be at tech school throughout December and unable to come home. Kira rarely makes it home because of her busy college schedule. Things are quieter than they used to be when we sat down each night for a chaotic dinner of seven.

I used to think I wanted to make sure we did everything with our kids that we did when they were little: go to all the Disney (ok, Pixar) movies the opening day at the theater, go have kids meals at the local fast food restaurant of choice, and watch the kids play on the equipment until our heads ached from the screaming, go on regular trips to the zoo to see the animals, and go to the park and play like kids at the playground with them.

There’s been some of that, but we’re ten years older, further along in our careers, and at a different place in our lives. We can’t provide an exact replica of what the older kids experienced in their youth. I know now that I don’t want to. The great thing about being in a different place in our lives is that we have a more stable income. We’re not stretching the budget as far with five at home instead of seven. The younger kids may not get as many trips to the playground, but they’ve spent time exploring New York City and Montreal. They don’t go to the local zoo as often, but they’ve been to zoos all over the country. They may not see every movie in the theater, but they’ve been to rock concerts and plays.

The two generations of kids will have different lives. I don’t think any one is better off than the other. In the end what is important is the experiences they do have with their parents build fond childhood memories.