When you spend time with your adult kids, isn’t it natural that you should reflect on where they’re at and what role you played in the process of getting them there? And I don’t mean necessarily the benefits you conferred. It could be that you look at them and worry that maybe you'd been careless or obtuse or distracted, and thus, you missed a point or two along the way, so that now they fret too much or sleep too little and really, it's kind of your fault...
I don’t normally think of this much because I think it’s indulgent and perhaps without value. You’re done, parent, step aside. You were who you were and they are who they are and btw, aren’t they absolutely the best and it’s not much your doing anyway, so please, just step aside.
Still, snapshots of your adult kids, taken on these infrequent (by my standards) visits do make you think back to the day when you urged your kid be one way or another without really knowing or understanding if this was a good idea or a bad idea or good for them or bad for them.
…Leading you to wonder for the millionth time what it is that you wanted for your kids when they popped out and had just one hour under their belt.
Looking back, I remember my buzz thoughts then. I was, initially, most focused on instilling in them trust and fostering accomplishment (broadly defined). Over time, I worried more about their assertiveness and confidence (I have daughters, after all). In the end, I thought mostly about their health and happiness.
It was a cool and rainy day and so we postponed our hike in the hills of Virginia. Maybe tomorrow, maybe...
But, all retro thoughts on parenting not withstanding, it was a wonderful day. We ate our favorite brunch foods, we walked under my daughter’s wee umbrella, we looked at budding trees, and when it was too cold to do more outside, we went indoors and ate cupcakes and drank good coffee (tea in her case). After, we went to the movies. We finished the day at a noisy wonderful U Street bistro.
But now I am home and she is sleeping and my other one is or should be sleeping as well and I wonder --- did I do enough to allow them to feel great about their space on this planet? Maybe. But really, who can tell.