Last week I finally wrote about something that has been bothering me for a while – the lack of parents of adult children that seem to be happy with their grown-up relationships. At least, that’s the impression I’m left with after nearly every interaction I have with a sales clerk when I’m out with the kids. If you’ve had kids, I’m sure you’ve experienced this, too. The “Oh, honey, enjoy it while you can!” line.
Actually, it was exciting to me how many real-life conversations my silly little blog last week sparked. I’ve always been hesitant to blog about personal things because I don’t want to it replace meaningful relationships. It’s awkward feeling like I’m just writing to the Internet about things that really, deeply matter to me. But several of you read and related and we were able to talk, even if briefly, about this common experience. And that I love!
So this bittersweet conversation, it happened again this week. “Oh, honey, they just get so big so fast. Aren’t they so fun right now?!”, as I’m fussing at Kyler to sit on his bottom and searching for Havyn’s bincky. First of all, yes and no. I adore my kids…probably more than is healthy, but they are not always fun. My sister-in-law is dealing with a colicky two month old right now and when she gets these remarks, she responds with, “Well, ask me again at 2am!”. So true!
Second, yes they are fun sometimes, even really fun sometimes. But does that have to end? Or should I say, is it going to end? Is that just the way it goes? Fun today, gone tomorrow.
I’d like to think I love my kids unconditionally, but there must be something selfish in there, too, because I can’t help but think, “Is all this effort worth it?!” I mean, if they are going to grow up and go away and rarely talk to me again, what’s the point? See, I told you it’s selfish. And it’s not really how I live either, but it is something I think about. After one of those long nights with a screaming baby or long days with an obstinate child…it’s hard not to fall into bed and hope it all “pays off” somehow.
So, I’m trying to figure out, what would a “pay-off” look like? What would a satisfying adult child-parent relationship be for us and how can we work our way there now? (open to suggestions!!)
My initial thoughts…now and always I want to be emotionally engaged with my kids. For that matter, with anyone I’m in a real relationship with. I want transparency, honesty, vulnerability. Ultimately, I want to be able to talk and feel, openly and freely. I want my kids to tell me what’s in their hearts – I want to know them and they me.
I want traditions. I want to laugh together and cry together. I want memories and moments of remembering. I want time together.
Now, it’s one thing to see the vision ahead, it’s another to get there…
My father-in-law overheard some of us talking about all of this at our family-baking day last weekend and he became the one and only person to say, “I think this season is great!” (referring to life with his grown children and grandkids). Maybe a dozen more of those comments down the road and I’ll have some firm hope to stand on. For now, I’m still wading through the hundreds of “Oh honey” comments and wondering how it will all turn out.