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2019 Nov

Every Step of the Way

Why you need to be there for your kids every step of the way.

Years ago when Peter and I published our first magazine, Tidewater Parent, I featured our two older sons on the cover. OMG, Scott and Jasper were so cute back then—not that they aren’t still cute, but there’s something so innocent about kids when they’re little. You just want to put that essence of youth in a bottle and hide it away somewhere.

Now it’s our youngest son’s turn to be on the cover. Of course, Ross isn’t little anymore. In fact, he’s married to Katie and has a two-year-old son, Lincoln. When I saw the proofs from their recent photo shoot, I just knew I would use one on the cover of Tidewater Family. I love the intimacy this one portrays and the joy all three of them express.

Of course, parenting isn’t always about joy. There are frustrations, too. Right now Lincoln seems to experience a burst of energy every night right around bedtime, frustrating Ross and Katie, who like all parents of young children relish their sleep. They asked me for advice on how to settle Lincoln down in the evenings, and I tried to think back 20+ years to when my kids were little. Honestly, I have forgotten all those tricks and techniques that helped me manage our three little boys back in the day. Feel free to share your bedtime advice for Ross and Katie on our Instagram or Twitter accounts.

Ross, Katie, and Lincoln live with us, and Peter and I love having daily doses of our grandson. He’s talking more and more each day, and sometimes words spill out of his mouth so fast you can barely keep up. Pretty soon Lincoln will start going to school three days a week. It’s so exciting to watch kids grow and develop.

I read once that when moms had to choose the favorite age of their kids, most pick years two and three. I have to agree. I loved that stage of my kids’ growth. They still needed me and loved affection, yet they were taking baby steps into the wide, wonderful world, learning new things every day. Isn’t it great to experience the world through the eyes of our children? Every day is a gift.

Kids grow up too fast. You’ve heard it before and I’ve seen it happen. That’s why taking the time to play and share experiences with your child now is so important. Because one day you’ll wake up and your little ones will be teens, a stage that requires another skillset and a different kind of parenting. I’ll admit the teen years were the hardest for me, and I’m sure Peter and I made some mistakes here and there. After all, parents aren’t perfect. Happily, all three boys are doing well in adulthood.

If you’re going through a tough stage with your kids right now, reach out for help. Don’t ever give up on them. They need you to be there every step of the way. Good luck and God Bless!

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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