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I spent twenty years of my life holding my children accountable, responsible, and making them upstanding citizens. Now at ages twenty and twenty-three I am finding the tables have turned.

My oldest lived with us for a month after his return from deployment in Egypt. He had found an apartment but it wouldn’t be ready for a month, so he crashed in our guest bedroom for about four weeks. I found the experience gave me mixed feelings.

I was thrilled to have him home and know he was safe and just right in the next room-just like he was as a teenager. Only this time he was more interested in spending time with the family, versus holed up in his room playing video games and talking online to friends.

But he also seemed more interested in holding me accountable to being a better person, and I found in some of our conversations I became the child and he became the parent. I knew it was good for me, and he was most respectful of me. But I couldn’t help wondering if the words he said were because he’d heard me say them several years ago.

I’m trying to lose weight right now, and Nathan is well aware of that. So he suggested that every morning we go to the running trails and he’d run while I walk. I appreciated that he realized I cannot keep up with someone that runs four miles every day while barely breaking a sweat. He told me that he needed the accountability, but I’m not so sure about that. I petitioned for a later workout time, but he said it was nonnegotiable-studies show when people workout first thing in the morning, they are more likely to be consistent. And so we began getting up at 7:AM every day (yes, every day, including Sundays) and exercising together.

Nathan also lectured me on my food choices. I do pretty well in general, but at family and church functions (which seem to be at least once a week) I have a tendency to cheat. Nathan was right there with me, piling his plate with only healthy items and encouraging me to do the same. He told me that cheaters never win and winners never cheat, which we all know is not what that saying is referring. But it definitely hit home and I have to say I was much better with my conscience by my side.

As I helped him move into his new apartment, marking the end of our month long co-habitation, I truly was sorry to seen him move out. I know that at twenty-three this very independent young man needs his space, and he definitely needs to be in the same city as his job and his college. But not only do I miss my roommate, I am also missing my accountability partner. I am proud that he’s so healthy and fit-sometimes kids really do know better.

Please comment and let me know your thoughts on this post-has you kid ever known better than you?

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