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Generations

Breakfast

If anybody ever tells you that all your parental responsibilities end when your children turn 18 has either never had children or never been a real parent. They may grow up and move out, but the bonds that develop between loving parent and child are never severed. Strained, perhaps, but never truly severed. Being a parent grows ever more difficult as your children grow older simply because they do become adults, with their own independent wills, dreams, and ambitions totally apart from yours. The best you can do is offer advice when asked, both sides knowing that the advice offered is from a different generational perspective, and the older generation realizing the younger generation may decide not to take that advice or modify it to suit the current situation. You can be there to help them the best you can when they need it. But if they don't ask for advice or help, then you have to stay out of their way, realizing that you don't have a complete awareness of their situation.

Mom and Daughter

I've come to realize that the best way to be a parent to an adult child is to give of my time and go to them when it's convenient for them rather than demand they come to me. When young adults are starting out they're incredibly busy and their money is stretched rather thin. That means they have neither the time nor the means to take numerous junkets to visit the parents as often as the parent (and the child) would like. Realizing this we've decided to go up and visit the girls on a semi-regular basis, when everybody's schedules can mesh.  It really works out best, as we get to see each other, and we get out of the house and travel.

Mother-Daughter Discussions

I've also come to realize that the younger daughter is reaching out to mom about adult woman issues. That's not to say I'm no longer loved nor appreciated; I am. But my daughter has reached another point in her life where she needs mom again, especially mom's insights. It's a good thing mom was an English professor for nearly 25 years. During that entire time she taught college-age students which, coupled with her unique innate abilities to understand young adults, is now helping both girls navigate some of the rougher patches in this part of their lives. If it sounds like counseling, it is only in the broadest sense. What is happening now is far more sophisticated and nuanced, as this is between two human beings who have grown up and grown older with one another. And I'm glad my wife is around, because I would be helpless in these situations.

Comments

  1. Wonderful article, thoughts, and photos Bill - thanks for sharing those, I really appreciate that. Oh, and your daughter is carrying an E-PL1; did she take any of you as well? I'm asking because when we visited an aunt lately and asked if she had any wish(es) for her birthday, she said: "A photo of you three". Then I realized that we don't really have any...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Wolfgang. She was playing around with it Sunday morning while we were at Lake Ella on Monroe in Tallahassee. She took some of my wife and I, and my wife took some of my daughter and I.

      Delete
    2. I see. Well don't forget to include yourself in the frame from time to time, or even to ask friends (like Jim, Kirk, or others?) to take a photo of all of you together. I was thinking about something like Laurence wrote in http://laurencekim.com/2012/03/26/the-importance-of-family-portraits/

      Thanks for the quick answer Bill,
      cheers,
      Wolfgang

      Delete

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