Back to school season is always a little emotional (why do people love counting down the number of summers we have left with our kids?!), and Leighton Meester is feeling it too. The Gossip Girl alum, who is mom to daughter Arlo, 8, and a 2-year-old son with husband Adam Brody, recently opened up about the milestones her kids are reaching that are “tinged with sadness,” and it makes us want to cry.
It’s Bittersweet Watching Your Kids Become More Independent
“Every moment is this amazing leap into new development where suddenly, your child is going off to school or suddenly, they’re reading and writing and interested more in their friends than you, or being potty trained,” she told PEOPLE. “It’s all those steps into being more independent that are so exciting and beautiful, and then it’s also just tinged with sadness always because that little reminder of them being a baby is slowly slipping away.”
Ah, this is so true. It’s like when your toddler finally learns how to pronounce a word correctly — you’re so proud, and yet, so sad at the same time. Parenting is all about being the biggest cheerleader for your kids as they master using the potty seat or blending their letters, and then crying into your pillow at night because they will never be this little again. It’s so hard!
This semester, the Orville actress gets a little extra time to enjoy her babies, though, as part of the strikes. “Right now, I’m on strike and hoping that we make a deal and figure everything out,” she told PEOPLE. “I love working. But right now, it’s forced time off, so I’m going to enjoy being with my family and doing back to school.”
She’s especially excited because the fall is her favorite time of year. “Definitely, come fall, I start getting excited for Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday and we like to go to Disney during Halloween time, when it’s all decorated and we’re in costumes,” she said. “That time of year is so joyful to me.”
She’s Reflecting on Her Own Childhood
Meester, whose latest partnership benefits Feeding America, also opened up about the “emotional journey” of having kids.
“It’s all just so intimate and private. It’s something that I could never put into words, really,” she said. “It’s such an emotional journey to have children, and it certainly has made me reflect on my own upbringing and childhood. Having children, I want to give them all that we never had when we were growing up, but also to be candid and open about how grateful we should be for everything that we have.”
The Orville actress shared that she dealt with food insecurity as a child, which is why its so important for her to give back now. “We relied on food stamps and welfare and it definitely wasn’t always easy come dinner time or at the grocery checkout line,” she said.
Teaching Their Kids Gratitude
In an interview with E! News earlier this month, Meester reflected on how her and Brody teach their kids gratitude.
“We live in such a bubble, and we obviously are really happy and grateful to give [our daughter] everything that we never had growing up.” Meester said. “But we also want her to understand that not everyone grows up like that.”
The Single Parents star added, “When we sit around the table, we always talk about what we’re grateful for and what the best part of our day was and just give thanks to our food.” Such a great tradition to have!
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