October 28, 2016

We're all adults here: Week Ten

Over the past several months, and even years, since our firstborn went to college, we have seen the gradual shift in our relationships. It took longer with the oldest, probably because we had never done it before, so it took us more time to concede that indeed she was an adult.
first adult home

Today, our visits and conversations are about adult issues. It really hit home when we found ourselves encouraging our younger daughter to go to a frat party. All the years we spent discouraging her participation in any party that would involve underage consumption of alcohol flipped. Having raised a responsible young woman, we knew that at least by attending a party, she would see what she was missing.

The next morning, she gleefully called us hangover-free to tell us how much fun she had playing beer-pong, but with water shots.

Their lives are moving at an adult speed. Our oldest is at an out of town conference and messaged us that she has an interview with a well-known company, She drove her own car there across another state. She has taken several long road trips, solo, back and forth to internships, grad expos, and now this conference. The younger one is enjoying living in a city, taking the train to different parts of town, all without having to check in with her parents or abide by a curfew. She is going to the store to pick up her favorite snacks all by herself and even considering staying on campus for summer classes.

Our conversations are now on equal footing. We still are helping out with the bills, but more often than not, they are managing their day to day finances, their schedules and their lives. Which means when we communicate, it reflects their complete independence. Not to say there aren't times they call and ask for advice or encouragement. And we've spent the World Series texting back and forth throughout the game. You know, like a couple of buddies would do. We spent many years reminding ourselves that "We are your parents, not your friends", and now we can finally say, "Hey, let's be friends, too!"

I reflected back on that critical shift with my own parents, when I became an adult in their eyes. For me, it was probably when I got my first apartment and was living off campus. Suddenly, I had a place I could entertain my folks. I could have them over for lunch or dinner. I still had a lot of growing up to do, but I knew that I was managing life on my own terms.

It's funny today, but because dreams are such a jumble of our subconscious, whenever I have a dream about an adult sort of decision, the location is still in my first apartment. I can still mentally walk through that space with photographic memory accuracy. As I remember the pride I felt the first time my parents treated me like an adult, I wish the same joy for my children.

Because now, they are adults. I really am glad they are also my friends. 

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