Little Problems, Big Problems
I remember when they began to have problems that I actually could remembering having as well. That was a sea change. It's hard to remember being upset about falling down or getting in trouble for not sharing. It's a whole different world when someone is mean to you on the bus or you feel excluded. That phase killed me. You really can feel their pain and sadness. I remember calling a friend and saying, "Oh my god the baby stuff was easy compared to this!"
Now that everyone is in college or high school it's even harder than the elementary school/middle school feelings. It's hard to first make friends at college. It's painful to be ill during finals and blow your grades after working your butt off all semester. It's hard to not have plans on a Saturday night and you know (or in our case even hear) other people are having fun. When one of the mothers of your close friend dies you begin to question mortality.
As a parent you put on a happy, positive spin on things and try to not show that you are crushed as well. Sometimes you want to just say, "Yes this sucks but it too will pass." I often say that this will be a short memory. Or my favorite-"Go to bed. It's best to just get this day out of the way. Tomorrow will be a new day."
If only they were still just upset about a broken cookie.