Nice Life Reminders Pip-Life

Happy Birthday kiddo (+ an ace surprise)

January 24, 2019
ari and pip

The baby of our family just turned 19 today. It is pretty amazing when your last baby has navigated that many years and is starting to forge a life for themselves. Not a baby anymore.

It is a good feeling, made especially better by learning that even when your kids are doing hard things – as they all must – it’s helping them grow.

I am a great one for trying to get in-between the hard things and the kids, and this is a lesson I am only just starting to come to grips with, as the very last baby grows up. It took me three go’s!

That said, your babies are always your babies, aren’t they?

And yet … there’s a bit of a sneaky switcheroo as they sort of tag you on the road to growing up and at times, speed past you in the weirdest relay race ever.

Possibly that doesn’t make much sense if you haven’t been there – or maybe it does, I am not sure – but the thing is when your kids grow up there are some super surreal moments where you find yourself listening extra closely and rethinking your own stance on lots of things.

When your kids are little you often just prattle away, numbed a little by exhaustion. And they prattle away too.  They are sort of primed to listen to your ideas and explanations and take them as gospel … even if they also like to tell you that no thank you, they would not like to put their socks on nor stop spooning peanut butter from jar to mouth.

When they are older, guess what? They have formed their own ideas and theories, fuelled by youthful passion and lots of brand new information they’ve picked up in their travels.

You get to listen to them and often realise your own theories need more fleshing out, or are not what you really and truly meant, or could do with revising.

It’s actually blinking brilliant.

People don’t really talk about this part of parenting very much. It’s a sort of unexpected prize you get at the tail end. Despite (v important) chatter of patriarchs and matriarchs, it’s the KIDS that end up doing the arch-ing, in my life at least.

That’s not to say that I expect them to lead the charge when it comes to efforts and decisions and big conversations , but more that this part of my life is full of brilliant inspiration and information … from them. And that has been an unexpected delight.

It’s kind of like you raise your kids and you get them to adulthood – ready to set free into the world – and that in itself is as good as the nicest bowl of ice cream you ever could eat (or frozen coconut yogurt, if you are vegan, because everyone’s needs count.) You all made it!

Then, they wander into adulthood and start teaching you things and helping you grow a bit more. And that bowl of ice-cream/fro-co-yo gets some bonus sprinkles and cherries and other favourite things lobbed on the top. They’re making YOU!

Just when you thought you’d hit the parenting jackpot, things get even better and … you realise you don’t know what you’re talking about re some things, and that it’s time to shake up your brain and learn/consider some more stuff!

They sort of wander back into your life, in a shape-shifted form, ready to help you be better.

Honestly? It’s a huge relief! Not only because you – and by you I mean me, in this case – get a sort of second wind, but you’re old enough to realise that it’s good to not have things all sewn up because … curiosity is excellent AND you sort of get to know your kids all over again – as grown-ups.

Anyway. Look. I am sure this is a load of ramble to lots of people, but it’s exactly how I am feeling right now as a now-solo mum of a 30-year-old, a 22-year-old and a 19-year-old human.

I helped make some people who are now more then ever helping me learn more about people (and myself!) They are helping me grow.

What an ace surprise.

x pip


Photo: Ari and me. 2000.


  • Reply melanie February 6, 2019 at 8:51 AM

    Our children are still very young but even this morning my husband and I were talking about how much easier things seem to be getting – especially with the oldest whom we are having interesting and fun conversations with. Still have to navigate the teenage years though!

  • Reply Edie February 3, 2019 at 9:43 AM

    I completely and totally get that! Xxxx

  • Reply Isabel January 28, 2019 at 3:18 PM

    This is awesome. I have a 6 and a half month old (I totally wrote you a letter 3+ years ago re my ambivalence about children……well, I had one, and it’s the best) and I look forward to him being 19 and teaching me things. I’ll make sure to not be a know-it-all and listen to what he has to teach me. Thanks Pip! Keep up the amazing blog and looking forward to your next book x Isabel

  • Reply Nat January 25, 2019 at 8:42 PM

    Love that Pip. I’m a Mum of a 24-year-old and 15-year-old and am having some of the exact same feels. Thanks for always being able to put my thoughts and feelings into words. x

  • Reply Nici January 25, 2019 at 8:08 PM

    Isn’t it wonderful! After so often being dismissed by parents and parents-in-law – when I clearly knew what I was talking about – I decided I would be making real efforts to listen to my grown up children. And it’s worth every moment.

  • Reply Reannon January 25, 2019 at 9:01 AM

    This makes me happy. You sound like you’ve raised some really lovely people. I’m navigating some super tough times with one of my kids & learning to not jump in & try to save the day each & every time is a SUPER hard thing for me but I do understand that he needs to learn these things for himself to become a proper functioning grown human. There is so much chat about the young years but because I’m the first person of any of my friends to have kids I feel like I’m on my own during these teen/young adult times so I’m constantly seeking out other people’s experience/advice. Words like yours are good for people like me.

  • Reply Kate January 25, 2019 at 6:49 AM

    I hear what you are saying Pip. Mine are 18, 20, 22 & 24 and everytime we get together they teach me something, offer a new perspective to an old theme or just plain blow me away with their grasp of it all. I never expected this and while sometimes it’s confronting and challenging for me it always reminds me that I’m not too old or set in my ways to grow and change my mind about things.
    Truly a wonderful surprise in the parenting game
    Cheers Kate

  • Reply Fiona January 25, 2019 at 12:38 AM

    So strange, isn’t it? I like to think of myself a fairly sensible person yet I am often shocked by totally predictable things my kids do. My 20 yr old has a boy friend and it looks like a very grown up relationship, as opposed to a teenage fling. I am floored by this! My daughter is with a guy she might well be with for a decade or four. How did this happen!! We are blessed women Pip that we have kids we know and love and have lived to be adults doing ordinary and extraordinary things.

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