Unexpectedly Thankful: A Guest Post by Lara Krupicka, Family Bucket List Guru

Today we’re kicking off the Mom-to-Mom Gratitude Gala and Giveaway with the first in a series of guest posts on the topic of gratitude. My mom-writer friend and colleague, Lara Krupicka — author of the awesome ebook, Family Bucket Lists — is here to share her thoughts on letting kids dream their own dreams. And making sure we parents don’t get too mixed up about whose dreams our kids are chasing. Without further ado, here’s Lara!


Before I die I want to:
Meet Tim Tebow
Learn how to surf
Hang out with Allison Felix
Take a tropical vacation
Make the Olympic track team

That bucket list isn’t mine. It’s my daughter’s. And while I’m all about giving her the independence to dream up where her life is headed, sometimes I get her hopes tangled up with my own.

And then problems result.


You’re probably thinking the most unlikely item on that list is the last one: making it to the Olympics. But you haven’t seen this girl run. As a grade-schooler she was scouted for a club soccer team for her speed. On the basketball court her coach ran a special play that allowed her to dash for the basket as a teammate lobbed the ball in her direction. And last year she broke a decades-old school record for the 100m dash at her junior high.

That girl can run.

So what’s a mom to do?

Buy her track spikes. Cheer her on at meets. And sit by her side at doctor appointment after doctor appointment as we face the unforeseen obstacle of a chronic knee problem.

And for that obstacle I am, unexpectedly… thankful. The challenges my daughter has faced in dealing with a prolonged injury have put me in my place. I am learning anew how to parent with detachment.

Because those Olympic hopes aren’t mine to carry. It’s not up to me to be the cooperative patient. I’m not the one who has to grit through the pain of physical therapy.

Which isn’t to say it’s easy, for her or me. I sometimes still nag. I launch into uninvited pep talks. I lay out expectations and requirements.

But her condition won’t improve just because I will it to. And her spirits won’t be sustained by my encouragement alone.

Yet I am thankful. Because as hard as this is for her, we are both becoming better people. She is learning how to find strength, how to go on when she thinks she can’t continue. I am learning when to hold back and when to lean in. I’m learning to pull my emotions from the situation so she has space to process on her own terms.

That bucket list is my daughter’s. And while I will support her in fulfilling it in whatever way I can, I’m thankful I can leave the burden for making it happen to her. I’m doing my best to be the calm in her chaos. Thankfully, that’s what she needs me to do.

What interests do your kids have that you’ve let them pursue without burdening them with your expectations? In what ways can you model gratitude and detachment regarding the future?

Remember: This post is part of the GIVEAWAY! That means you can comment on this post and count it toward your entry points using the rafflecopter widget here. Now what are you waiting for? Let’s get grateful.

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4 Responses to Unexpectedly Thankful: A Guest Post by Lara Krupicka, Family Bucket List Guru

  1. Sue says:

    Both my children have started rock climbing. I am thankful that they are exploring a new physical activity. I am detached from their outcome as it is a sport I know very little about. I simply delight in watching them and lI ove hearing them share this interest when I hear one describe to the other a challenge they have met on the wall.

  2. Lara says:


    What? You aren’t on the rock walls with them? :)

    I think our kids need activities they enjoy that we don’t jump in and push them about. I’ve seen more than once where an interest from a child sent a parent into a tail-spin working to prep them for a college scholarship-type sporting career.

    Thanks for chiming in!

  3. Marie says:

    What a great bucket list. I would love to figure out how to get them to move their dreams to reality and not sound like I’m nagging. :)

  4. Lara says:

    Marie – maybe you could start by just getting them to write down a short list of their dreams. Then ask, “what could you do right now (take a class, join a club, make plans for during a school break)?” Some kids are easier to draw out and more ambitious than others. I’d say just affirm them when they do express an interest or a dream.

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