Entries from September 1, 2009 - October 1, 2009
We used to be the ones who left. We would go home from college or for a visit after we married. We would pack up the kids and stay for a week. But we were always the ones who left. We would get in the car, pray and point the hood towards home. I never wondered if this was the last time I would be seeing a love one. If that person would be healthy the next time I popped into their life. Leaving was always a little bit sad but there was tomorrow, the job, the kids or our life we were returning to.
It is not that we don't have full busy lives and yet......
Now we are the ones who stay. Who stand and hug and say good bye. Who are no longer certain with the certainly of youth that we will see this one again. We are the ones who are left. I know that at this stage of life goodbye is for a lot longer than hello.
Growing older seems to mean longer goodbyes and shorter hellos.
And being the ones who stay........
It is so much easier to see other parents crossing lines of respect with their adult children. Kids begin to lie or avoid them and parents are appalled. Lying is wrong but how is a adult child supposed to protect her or himself from the relentless barrage of a parent’s disapproval. Disapproval that they wouldn’t express to other adults because there are lines of respect adults do not cross if they wish to maintain the relationship.
I have watch a 29 year old woman who has lived on her own in a different city for years, has a career and is an active member of her church and community subject to her parent’s vocal disapproval of the young man she is in love with. Some of her parent’s concerns seem valid but when asked the mom couldn’t explain why her intelligent, adult daughter sees in this man. Not because her daughter doesn’t have an answer but because her reasons were deemed invalid by her parents. They see her continued relationship with this young man as a violation of her responding respectfully to their opinion of the young man in question.
The parents in question would never treat another adult to the continual disapproval and reasonably expect that relationship to continue. The mother purchased for her child a book of questions to ask when deciding whether or not to marry a specific individual.
It would have been a thoughtful gift if after reading the book the young woman was free to decide to marry her young man or not. She doesn’t have that freedom. The only answer open to her as far as her parents are concerned is to break off the relationship.
Teens are amazing self centered and often cross lines of respect towards their parents. It is easy to see when those lines are crossed.
Parents have to recognize and respect the decisions of their adult children. I find myself asking myself when dealing with my adult child “If I wouldn’t treat another adult like that, why would I treat my adult child in a disrespectful manner?
I don't always answer the question but atleast I have begun to ask it.........
While Haggi was home visiting once in a while I would announce I was going into MOM MODE. I would say what I had to say and that was that. Once or twice I apologized because I saw clearly I has crossed a lines of respect, treating him like I wouldn’t another adult, like when I asked him why he got in one lane while he was driving and not the other. In general I don’t side seat drive other adults when they are behind the wheel. It is very easy to slip into MOM MODE with our adult children.
I still remember my parents and my husband’s parent crossing that line when we bought our second house. Both sets of parents clearly though we had not purchased a home appropriate to raise their grandchildren in. First my mom “commented” and just would not stop. She was wearing me down. Finally I though it through and asked if she was willing to give us the money to move. That solved that.
My mother in law visited after my mom and I was prepared for the litany. Her “comments” began to weary her son, my husband. I asked her the same question ....problem solved.
When we had out second child, my mother in law announced that since we had a boy and a girl our family was done. I smiled at her and mentioned that we like to give our kids family names for their middle name and I still had 6 sisters left to go. She never commented on our future plans again.
So much easier to see when I am the one being disrespected. So much hard to see when I am the one disrespecting one of my adult kids.
Haggi has been visiting for a few weeks. I have noticed gradual erosion of his adult skills. Damp towels are appearing on the leather chair in the room he is sleeping in. Dishes are no longer making their way back to the kitchen. No one but no one uses my laptop without my express permission (very rarely given).The adult child is returning to semi-adult status with my unpermissioned laptop in his use. He is sleeping later and later.
I observe this with some amusement. It would get old if he was living here but since he leaves in a few days it’s kinda endearing.