Parents are helpless. When our children are born, we think we are in full control. We decide what they will wear and where they will wear it. We decide what to feed them and where they will sleep. We decide who gets to hold them and care for them. We must decide when they need to go to the doctor. We get to make many decisions for our babies, but then something happens. They begin to grow and start showing their little personalities. Then they’ve got us. Gradually, we are taken over, like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and before we know it, they have stolen our souls, not to mention our hearts, so that we do whatever they want us to do. We find ourselves doing anything to make them happy. This doesn’t really stop until after they graduate and move out. Oh wait, it doesn’t even stop then.
During the teen years, that frustrating need to exert control sometimes ends up as a battle for control. Once they hit adulthood, it sort of morphs into the need to extend “advice”, even when it’s unsolicited. For so many years, they looked to only us for answers, as the ultimate authority on all important matters. Now it really bites to find out they no longer need us since Google must always be right and our experience counts for nothing. Okay. Sorry. I’m back. Taking a breath.
When I was young, I remember my Grandma taking me and my cousin along to visit elderly friends. I remember Grandma impressing upon me the need for the elderly to feel needed. That sometimes, feeling useless made them feel down and giving them some of your time and really listening helped in some way that was important to the spirit. Now that we’re empty nesters, I get glimpses of how that can happen.
Please don’t get me wrong. Our kids are great and always make us feel wanted. But, there are times in between the holidays and family celebrations that can make you feel a bit down and miss at least talking to your kids, even when their lives are so busy. I’m probably just getting maudlin because I’m not feeling well right now. Those are what I call my “weak” days.
In any case, watching my youngest daughter with her sweet baby boy made me realize that she too will be going through all this in the years to come. Welcome to parenthood, sweetie. It’s a big club with a whole lot of members to keep you company when you need sympathy.