An Open Letter To My (almost) Adult Children


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Dear guys,

It’s time for us to have a little talk.  Of course, it’s my platform here, so I’m talking and maybe you’ll listen. You are all almost adults now, and well, that requires some adjusting. For all of us. I want to be clear, I really do understand that this is an adjustment for you as well. We’re all figuring things out, as they morph and change, each time we see each other. And that’s where this letter begins, two of you don’t live here anymore. You’re growing up, and I’m growing back… into the person I was, before I was your Mom. So let’s get a few things cleared up.

While I was clearly born to be your mother, I wasn’t born your mother.  

I evolved into it, through many years of trial and error, highs and lows, and a whole lot of love; and this progression is critical to our future understanding of each other. I was not born a mommy, I became one. I had a whole life before you, and now as you each leave me, to figure out your own paths, I am figuring out some things too. It’s the me that comes after all the fun of raising you: Me 2.0.  You guys probably give it very little thought day-to-day, but the life you’ve lived up until this point informs your whole perspective now. Children are probably way off your radar (let’s just agree to that). So believe me when I tell you, that one day, when you have your own children, you may find yourself a little disoriented; it may be hard to remember that this whole world you’re in right now, ever happened. It’s so easy to forget who you were, before you were blinded by your children’s sparkle.

That said, I was not born your mother. I was born me. I was a daughter first: I was loved and special to my parents.

Then I was a girl: I played and grew. I became a teen: I experimented, I had crushes, I played some more. When I was a young woman: I went out in the world and explored; I fell in love; I had my heart broken; I was a lover– Ok, so it’s time you knew, I did have sex… not just the three times that resulted in you. There, I said it.  I fell in love for real; it’s not a simple thing. We dated, we grew as a couple– met each other’s families, had some fights, made up, grew some more, and we decided to get married– and we had some more fights along the way, and made up again. It takes time; it was an important time in my life.

Eventually, after nearly a quarter of a century, and three years as a wife, I became a mom. If you were paying attention in this paragraph, you may have noticed something, none of it– until that last sentence, involved you.  In fact, this time line says: I had a very full life before you came, and I’m letting you know now, I’m looking forward to a very full life as each of you go, and I shift on my axis again.

However, just because I’ve been there and done that, doesn’t mean it’s easy to do it again. Just as confused, nervous and excited as you may feel about going off to college, graduating from college, and finding your way in the world after college (and we have all three happening this year), I’m feeling many of the same things about the changes in my world. I’ve made a lot of progress in letting go, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint; and let’s face it, I’m not a runner anyway. I’ve learned to sleep pretty well at night not knowing where two of you are; I spend my days not knowing where you are or what you’re doing, as well. I’ve adjusted to one of you living in another country full-time, and did pretty well when one of you was living in Asia for seven months. The fact that my youngest is looking at colleges and is facing lots of change, is another punch to roll with… but, I think I’m rolling pretty well in the stop, drop and roll of life. Honestly, I think I’ve come a long way in the process of figuring out how to be a mother from afar. It’s a marathon…

I’ve done some adjusting, but in every relationship, there’s give and take. You have some adjusting to do as well. Of course it’s all about perspective. This is my perspective, and here are a few of the things I’d like to see you focus on.

1)  While I am so happy and grateful that when you visit family and friends, your dad and I constantly hear that you are respectful, polite and helpful, fun to have around, and overall great people– truly, it warms my motherly heart– I’d love to see that same thing at home. You guys have chosen to live in other countries, other states, other places… that’s great! That’s what you were raised to do: fly! I love that you are finding exciting lives and feeling happy where you landed. But spread the love my little birds; spread the love.

When you arrive home, take a moment to collect your bearings. Things will have moved and shifted during flight.

Dont’ take it personally. The cereal isn’t there anymore, it works better for me, here. Just because your closet makes a good storage area now, doesn’t mean you haven’t still left your mark on a room. As I walk into each of your rooms, I never fail to pause and miss you; then I put my stuff where yours used to be. When I visit you, I will do things the way you want them done, but when you come home, you need to take a deep breath and just be an adult. If you want us to see you as one, you need to act like one. If I want dishes washed and put away when you’re done eating, do it. If you don’t like the way we do things, we understand that; we didn’t like the way our parents did things. Your grandparents weren’t born your grandparents either (I know, scary how the world isn’t exactly what you always thought); they were our parents first, and we went through all of the things you might be thinking and feeling now, with them. It’s a right of passage– but your rights end there. At a certain point, it’s our way or the… well, there’s no other way. Mi casa es mi casa, now. You are always welcome– until you aren’t.

2)  I have thoughts, feelings, experiences to share with you. I know we are never going to be best friends; that’s not how it’s suppose to be, and I’m totally fine with that. However, I do like all three of you an awful lot. I would pick you out of a crowd. You’re charismatic, you’re intelligent, interesting, fun people– and let’s face it, you’re all easy on the eyes. I love hearing your stories; I love sharing in your lives. I want honesty and respect between us, as the power shifts and I’m no longer totally in charge. But don’t be confused; at home, I am still in charge, even if there’s been some shifting. Outside of that arena, there can be a lot more give and take.

Ask me about my day, ask me about my life, and then listen to the answers.

Again, I was not born your mother and I may have some interesting things to share. You may have something to learn from me, at this stage. Don’t cut me off, because you think you’ve heard it all before, or because I sound like… well, your mother. Yes, I repeat stories sometimes, but that’s generally because those stories are important to me. Things have shifted; try to tune in. Believe it or not:  I dated; I had relationships; I lived in an apartment and learned to cook, pay bills, and deal with roommates. I went to an excellent college and kept excellent grades, and no, it wasn’t easier then.  I went to grad school; and yes, I wish I had waited.  I fell in love, and I had my heart broken… more than once, not just by your dad. I haven’t forgotten these things, and as you go through them, I might have something to share that you can learn from. Deciding what to do in life was then, and still is, complicated and challenging.  Hearts still break the same way, and only time heals.

Of course, you’ll learn your own lessons; we all do, but it helps to have a guide sometimes.  I’m in it for the long haul. So ask me, and then listen… patiently.

3) Listening patiently is a skill; it takes practice.  As your parents, there were a lot of years when your dad and I told you what we thought/wanted/expected, and you listened. I’ve said it for years: this is not a democracy, and when you were little, that was especially true.  That, too, is shifting. As adults, we have things to learn from you, just as you have things to learn from us. If we are all able to slow down a little and listen more patiently, we’ll all come out wiser and happier on the other side. It’s so easy to fall into patterns (good and bad) that we formed in our many years of living together. Just as you are out there growing and changing, please accept that I am still growing and changing too. Apparently you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks; but, I am not as keen to fetch these days, as to play. When we see each other, don’t assume you know what I think, what I feel, or what I meant to say. If I say it wrong, give me a minute to clarify. Listen to the words; don’t just anticipate the meaning. I’m trying to do the same thing. Marathon, babies, marathon.

4) Show some respect, and we will do the same. Again, I am not your friend; I am your parent, and an adult. I have earned the right to some seniority, just as you are in the process of earning your right, down the line. Don’t challenge me, as if I am not your elder. If I tell you to pick something up and put it away, do not point out that I need to put something away too. I put lots and lots of things away that are not mine, on a regular basis, and have since you were born. Let me be very clear about this: if we were to keep score, I’d win, hands down. So show some respect. Some day, when you are saying these things to your own kids, you may want me in your court. Bank on that.

5) Know that no matter how old you are; no matter how much more you know about a given subject, than me (and that happens a lot, lately),  no matter how far away you go, or what you do, I will always be your Mom first. It informs every decision, every action, every gesture I make. It is as natural to me as breathing; it can not be turned on and off. So when I sound more like a mother than an interested second party, that’s because I am. All of these things I’ve suggested, all of the efforts I make, will always be tested in those moments when my heart is tugged, and I forget the new directions we’re all traveling in. Don’t throw it in my face; don’t challenge it. Embrace it! There are far worse things in life than to be loved this much, and the sooner you embrace and hold that dear, the better things will be between us.

It’s hard to summarize all of the lessons, all of the ideas, all of the thoughts that I might want to pass on. It’s even harder to keep pace in that marathon. We all stumble and we all shine, given the day or hour. I celebrate your journey and hope you’ll celebrate mine. Life is short, and the years fly by. The sooner we find our groove, the nicer it is for each of us.

I love each of you, independently and collectively, more than you can know now. By the time you do know, you’ll have your own lessons to teach… And, I’ll have grandchildren to spoil.

Love, Mom

*     *     *

GIPY

GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
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70 Responses to An Open Letter To My (almost) Adult Children

  1. MissTiffany says:

    I got a little teary, reading that. I know it’s what my mom (and dad!) will be going through in the coming years. As much as I’d like to deny it, all of us kids are growing up and becoming out own people. I haven’t quite flown the nest yet, but I’ve tested the boundaries. I’ve thought about the day when one us will finally leave,and then I’m sure it will seem like we’re all leaving. It will be hard. These kinds of changes hardly ever seem to come easily, but I know we’ll get through it, because we’re a family, and we stick together.
    It sounds like you’ve raised three wonderful children, and I wish all of you the best of luck.

    Like

    • Thanks Tiffany. I really appreciate you sharing your experience and thoughts. All of this will feel very different to you, when you actually leave and come back… and then, when you become a parent. It’s a long process, and no doubt your parents would read this differently than you. But that’s how it’s suppose to be! Thanks for taking the time.

      Like

      • MissTiffany says:

        You’re welcome. I’m sure it will be different (a part of me both dreads and looks forward to the day when I strike out on my own) and strange and wonderful and sad and bittersweet…but that is part of life. Yes, no doubt they would. But you’re right! That’s how it’s supposed to be. 🙂

        Like

        • It’s an indication that you have been loved well, and have had lots of support and nurturing, that leaving is bittersweet experience. That’s what it should be. Going out in the world is a big deal… some of the most exciting and life changing moments will come your way, and it’s scary because: yeah, it’s on you. My letter is meant to say that once the kids are gone, there are things I need to do for myself, BUT it’s give and take… I need to go back and remember what they are going through, just as much as they need to grow up and see where I’m at. New directions for all of us! You’ll do great, Tiffany!

          Like

  2. Robin Dooley Serrilla says:

    I absolutely LOVE this. It takes a special person to be able to write so fluently. Beautifully said!

    Like

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Lovely and heartfelt, something your kids can look back on and reread should they feel the urge. Definitely a new stage in life for everyone when our kids move out into this world. By the way, is that a family photo on top? Very cute.

    Like

    • Those are my kids, a long time ago. They’ve asked that I not use their current images on my blog… or my daughter has. I think they prefer I not put their pictures out there.

      Yes, it’s a totally different phase, and while I’m not completely in it yet, the writing’s on the wall! Especially when they come home for visits. 😉

      Like

  4. mamaheidi60 says:

    Oh yeah! I take on the DARE! How dare YOU speak MY mind! hahahaha. Seriously, Dawn, this is such a great piece. I’m sharing it with my brother and sister in a couple of minutes. You really nailed this one. We are the parents of a young adult who returns for a couple of weeks in between house sitting gigs. It is new territory. I really appreciate permission to keep saying “But I’m your mom, this is my house, this is up to me.” Thank you.

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  5. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Lots of love in here and lots of self-respect! And no co-dependence! You go girl!

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  6. Laura Henkel says:

    This is my favorite post so far Dawn…absolutely love it. So, so true and heartfelt. It is a marathon and I find myself in the moment and winging it more often than not lately. Always a mama. I’m sharing with Ben and will share with friends.

    Laura

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  7. Soapsuds says:

    Most definitely one of your best blogs! Ever.

    Like

  8. Dan Hennessy says:

    You show a gift for expressing clearly a ton of complicated / confusing emotions. Amazing !

    Like

  9. Dawn. You speak my heart. Thank you. You will and have helped me gracefully navigate the flight of my beautiful boys. We create and nourish these children who then they do their own beautiful things. And the scary thing is they are going to one up us. They are going to do even more amazing things…dam. You and I have children that may explore even more as they have had opportunities to travel and see the world. My 16 year old just bought an avalanche beacon, shovel and probe…the to me is now scarier than driving or traveling or sex.

    Keep posting…I love it.

    Like

  10. I hear ya. I say we should never have given them passports! (kidding.)

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  11. ruth lerner says:

    This is a great post, Dawn…you at your best/ I’ve forwarded it to David. Love, Ruth

    Like

  12. kjlangton says:

    Dawn, what a great piece of writing – will share with my boys. Thank you.

    Like

  13. So beautiful in its honesty and emotion. And something I can keep in mind right now as a daughter, since my kids have a ways to go to adulthood. But this line right here, “…before you were blinded by your children’s sparkle.” simply too my breath away.

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  14. Awesome post and important. Kids forget their parents were people before they were parents and they had lives and roles beside that of mom and dad. Great post!

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  15. Fantastic piece!! Straight up, from the heart, no bull, loaded with love. I never thought about how my mother felt when I got out on my own. I was in such a hurry to be on my own, with my own job and my own place, that I barely looked back. But the folks were very understanding when I went back to college and came back home on weekends, for three years.

    Now that things here in my own household are no longer in survival mode when it comes to the school year, I can actually take a breath and relax a bit.I think this is what it’s like for most parents, (other than the fact that my son still needs extra help in some areas). Little Man turned a big corner, and is actually having a pretty good year in school. I can now see how the years can go by faster and faster, and then they’re off to college (or where ever Little Man ends up).

    I love how you’ve reminded your kids that you were someone other than a mom before they came along. And you’re coming back into your own as your mothering time requirements considerably lessen. I’ll definitely need to remember this one.

    Like

    • So glad to hear that things have settled down for your Little Man… it’s a hard road, but you’ve done such a great job of advocating and helping him!

      The years do fly, and you don’t always notice it in the midst of it… but from hindsight. Like so many other things! Thanks for your continued support; much, much appreciated.

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  16. lesleycarter says:

    “While I was clearly born to be your mother, I wasn’t born your mother. I evolved into it, through many years of trial and error, highs and lows, and a whole lot of love; and this progression is critical to our future understanding of each other.” LOVE IT! I learn just as much from Athena as she learns from me. It’s a process. 🙂

    Like

    • It is a process… and it goes on for a long, long time! So many twists and turns, and unexpected bumps and fun. Loved your post too, Lesley. I’m so happy to have you leave a comment…. I actually had to approve you. How funny is that!

      Like

  17. Mike Lince says:

    Your words are resonating through my mind and through my relationship with my own children. I always felt my children looked more to their mother for day-to-day things. They depended on me for their livelihood more than for nurturing and providing care. Now that my children are a little older (32 and 28) they have closed some of the distance that occurs with separation. I guess they figured out they would have to enjoy my company while they can since I am in the U.S. only a few days out of the year now.

    You offer some great insights from a mother’s perspective. I love your gentle but firm guidelines to your children that they act like adults without challenging you or competing with you (‘no contest’) or testing the limits when they visit. I am sure you will get the respect you deserve not only because you have plainly laid out the rules in no uncertain terms, but also because your children must surely realize how fortunate they are to have you for their mother. – Mike

    Like

    • Mike, you have been a wonderful blog friend, in so many ways. Your comment is truly kind, and meaningful; thanks. I hope your kids, as they’ve grown, realize how hard it is to be a father, sometimes. The dynamics are so very different, and I think dads really have to work to find their place in their children’s lives. As we all age, things become easier or harder… depending on what each of us has learned. I hope you can enjoy the relationship you want, with your kids and grandkids. xo

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  18. Steph says:

    I love this Dawn!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂 xo

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  19. The Waiting says:

    “Let me be very clear about this, if we were to keep score, I’d win, hands down. So show some respect. Some day, when you are saying these things to your own kids, you may want me in your court. Bank on that.”

    DAMN. I needed to hear that, as the child in my relationship with my mom. I halfway suspect that she had you write this specifically for me. I have been known to be a bit of a sassafras.

    Like

  20. Marjorie Galleher says:

    Wow and wow. That was so thoughtfully Put together and resonates in every parent out there. I’m going think on this and hopefully if you don’t mind will share with some friends.

    Marjorie

    Like

  21. jgroeber says:

    Totally moved me. And usually I’m posting about how I have a third imaginary arm to pinch the back-talkers in the back seat of the packed minivan (and also how much I love my kids, too.) I know we will be where you are in a blink if an eye and you’ve reminded me to appreciate the toddler/kid stage. Thank you for this!

    Like

    • Welcome to TFTM; thanks for stopping by. I wasn’t thinking about these things when my minivan was packed, so that makes you pretty normal! It does go by in a blink (I’m afraid I’ve written an awful lot about that!), so yes enjoy this precious time with your little guys. I hope you’ll check out some other posts here, and let me know what you think. I’ve really been enjoying your posts! Just beautiful writing. 🙂

      Like

  22. Jacqueline says:

    Such a sweet and heartfelt letter! Moms are very special people! I remember when mine gave me a giant binder full of all our emails that she had saved while we were in college. She’s an amazing woman, and I’m blessed to have her as my mama! Your kids are blessed too! 🙂

    Like

  23. Rachna says:

    Beautiful beautiful post, Dawn. I alternated between smiles and tears as I read through your sharing. My son left home (Munich, Germany) to live and study his undergrad course In Somerset, England. The last few months have been such a huge learning experience not just for him but for me as well. He came back home for the first time for xmas break and I felt so much – of what you have written up there – happening here. I would love my son to read this post but I doubt he will be able to leave his fifa game or his friends long enough to read this through. A heartfelt thanks once again 🙂

    Like

    • You are so welcome Rachna. I was surprised, but my own son read this… and told me he really liked it; that it touched him– he only wished I’d written it privately. I could see his point, but I told him that this is why I write. To be honest, I hadn’t thought he’d read it. 😉 It is such an enormous time of change when our kids leave. The adjustments continue over and over. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. Much appreciated.

      Like

  24. This made me laugh with somewhat sad tears in my eyes. We only have a daughter and I’m still figuring her out as she grows. It’s hard imagining the time that she’ll be leaving us. This gave me insights on what to come. Great reads!

    Like

    • Welcome to Tales From the Motherland, and thanks for your kind words, dessiemudcakes! I hope your years with your daughter bring gentle lessons. It’s a wild ride, for sure. I appreciate you taking the time to read and share; thanks!

      Like

  25. Joy Boyd says:

    Oh my! I love this so much. I have 5 adult children and I feel that I could have written this myself, just not as well as you did! Thank you so very much for speaking for me, this road not yet traveled, of parenting adult children, is something I had never considered. It’s not easy, but I’m trying to learn and live in the joy of watching them grow and learn instead of worrying constantly about their decisions. I’ll let you know when I have it all figured out:)

    Like

    • Welcome to TFTM, Joy and thanks for taking the time to read that post and share your thoughts! IF and when you figure it all out, PLEASE let me know. Sounds like we’re in similar boats, and I could always use a guide. 😉 I appreciate your feedback.

      Like

  26. Cindy says:

    I only have one child. She is now nearing 30. I thought I was going to die when she first left home, but she’s been back a time or two. The last time she came back, it wasn’t very long before I told her she had to go because it is still my house, my rules, my way. We get along much better with her out on her own. We seem to share more and have more fun now that we don’t share the same space, and for that I am ever so grateful. Because isn’t that what life is really about? Having fun?!? Loved, loved, loved your definition of it all. So true and on point. Glad I’m not the only one that feels this way. Thank you!

    Like

    • Cindy, welcome to Tales From the Motherland and thank you so much for this wonderful comment. I can so relate to what you say here, as this post attests. I’m sure that when my kids have their own spaces one day, it will all be a lot easier. 😉 Because yes, it really should be about the fun! Again, thanks for taking the time to read and comment; it’s much appreciated.

      Like

  27. prelay2014 says:

    I love it. I would like a little more of #2

    Like

  28. Oh my God – you are my new ‘I wish I said that’ person. I have four kids that left home in a cluster – I had them in a cluster, they left that way; for university, to be lifties on mountain tops, to live in Rome with a host family (fake parents) to maybe go into ashrams… oh how I wish, I said what you said in that letter to my four…especially about listening to me as I get to change too, and about not keeping score, but especially – and it makes me want to cry again quoting you “there are far worse things in life than to be loved this much”. I’m a writer too, and this summer published a book called, Text Me, Love Mom; Two Girls, Two Boys, One Empty Nest. (You can see if on Amazon) Don’t think I’m some sort of crazy stalker of moms- at-a- certain-stage, but wow, I think if you lived around here we’d be power walking to some coffee shop to chat our heads off a lot.

    Like

    • I can assure you, I’d join you for coffee in a heartbeat… bit it’s doubtful I’d power walk! I’ve become pretty lame in that department! 😉

      I’ll have to look up your book; that’s fantastic that you published a book! Did you self-publish or traditional? I have a book about our year with 2 exchange students and a novel– but I’m paralyzed as to what to do with them. The blog has become my focus and is really taking off right now… which is very rewarding (and time consuming) right now!

      Thanks for reading yet another post, and reaching out. Where do you live? For coffee? 😉

      Like

  29. I am a bit new to this forum but I am finding so much on the journey of Word Press.

    This piece has specifically hit home for me. I am in the process of the changes of moving on from a child in the security of my parents’ home to an adult that my parents can one day grow to respect. This process is without a doubt a marathon: full of emotional, heartbreaking (things you’d never imagine to be that are), and daunting changes. Reading your perspective as a mother of three has definitely reinforced my own mother’s perspective for me. Thank you for the wisdom! It is needed and so appreciated at such a vulnerable time in my life.

    I look forward to reading more! xo

    Like

    • xsoulxonfirex, I can’t thank you enough for this wonderful comment. It truly means a lot to me. I hope that my own children can read it (they have) and eventually understand the meaning behind it, as well as the deep well of love. As I said, that often comes after they are parents themselves. Thanks so much for visiting TFTM. I hope you will indeed read more and share your thoughts. Your time and energy is much appreciated.

      Like

  30. Wow, beautiful and so close to my heart. My Children have grown and almost gone too. Thank you.!

    Like

  31. Lissy says:

    I just read this on the huffington post and it forced me to comment on facebook- which I refuse to use- yes I am possibly the only 25 year old that does not do so. So here goes.

    Dear Parents of Adult Children,

    Don’t assume that your children will have children. They may choose to never have any. Do not ask for them to do so for your behalf. You will die before they do- god willing. They may not want to put another person through that in future.

    When you are old and your children are your sole provider- remember that you chose to have them because you wanted someone there in your old age. If they choose to put you in a home and leave you alone- you probably deserve it. Think on what you did to tick them off when they were younger. Do not question everything they do. They probably are more aware of the world at that point than you are- assuming you even get to be in your 70’s and beyond.

    Do not ask your children to do things in their house that they don’t like. If they don’t want to decorate for the holidays and you always did- don’t push it.

    If you are super religious and they are not- do not demand that they “say grace” or anything like it. They are adults. They can choose to believe as they wish and you need to accept that. Don’t push the issue unless you wish to alienate them.

    Like

    • Lissy, I’m sorry that you were unable to comment on Huffington Post. They do not require that you respond of Facebook; I’m not sure where you got that impression. You simply hit “reply” on the post, and you can still add this comment– if you like.

      My oldest child is 24, so you are in the age range of at least on of my kids. I can tell you that while I really appreciate your feedback, and your thoughts, many of these points do not apply to me or my children. I do NOT assume that my children will have children, and they know that I absolutely believe that that decision is theirs. It will be between them and any partner they might have one day, certainly not me or their father. I do need to ask, however: why would I die before they do, “God willing.” I think it is HIGHLY likely that if any of my kids do have kids, I will very likely still be alive… just as my parents were alive to see my children, and my grand parents were alive to see me, and so on. I am young and active, and hope to live many more years.

      Second, I in NO way had my children to be my “sole provider.” I don’t know where you got that impression, but my husband and I have raised extremely independent children, who live all over the world. We are very capable of taking care of ourselves, and don’t expect our kids to do that. IF, when we are much older, we need emotional support, and our kids want to be there for us… great! If they don’t, that would be sad, as we have always been very close to them, but that too would be their choice. I do want someone there in my old age, but that is why I married my husband! 😉

      We’re not there yet, but so far, I don’t really even demand that my kids do what I want in their bedrooms. Two of my kids live in their own apartments, and when I visit, I absolutely do things THEIR way, in their homes. We all have opinions, and I have never shied away from sharing mine with my kids, nor them with me… but they have always been encouraged to live their own lives. When our daughter embraced a much stricter religion and moved overseas, we missed her, we were sad, but we have definitely encouraged her to live where and how she feels happiest.

      Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have answered your letter on HuffPost; I’ve learned (the hard way) that responses are not really the best way to go… but here on Tales From the Motherland, I answer EVERY post.

      I hope this response, addresses some of your thoughts. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to read my work, and share your thoughts. Your time and energy are much appreciated.

      Like

  32. elmowrites says:

    Thank you for sending me the link to this post, and for thinking my FF story in any way resonated with it. I love how you’ve captured the need for both parents and children to adapt to a new relationship. As a daughter, I have often spoken to my friends and husband about our universal tendency to regress when we go home; I think it’s natural, but I also think there is a huge value in learning to be an adult in the company of adults, where one’s parents are concerned. You’ve also captured that unending love I already feel as a mother of a toddler, and always have as a daughter.
    I wonder how your children responded to this. I hope you’ve had a chance to discuss this with them face-to-face too.

    An aside, I got caught up reading the comments and the last one surprised me. I totally agree with the commenter that you shouldn’t expect your children to have children, to bow to your will in their own homes, or to care for you – but I don’t believe your post suggests that you do any of that. I think when s/he says “God willing you will die before they do”, it’s before they have children *for your sake*, not before they have children at all. And in that sense, I think we can agree that it would be a real tragedy for anyone to have children because someone else thought they should. I suppose your last lines suggest an expectation of grandchildren, but in light of the whole piece, those lines seem to me to be slightly tongue in cheek (or perhaps I mean teasing) rather than carrying a weight of “just wait until you have children”. Anyway, one thing about reading is we all come to it with our own perspective; perhaps the commenter has felt these things on her own or a friend’s behalf and read them into your words accordingly.

    Thanks again for sending me this way.
    Jen

    Like

  33. Pingback: What I’ve Learned Watching My Children Grow Up… or Lost In Translation | TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

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