Pleasures and Ponderings

Friday, March 18, 2011

Letting Go as a Parent

A few years ago, I realized that my two kids were not ever likely to be interested in the philosophical discussions I so loved. Holding on to that desire didn't serve any of us. So I've been focusing on what I do enjoy with and about them. I was grateful that, though my daughter had proclaimed triumphantly the first week that she turned 13 that she was "a bitch and proud of it," she has turned out to be a very responsible woman, employee and mother.

And though I might have wished retribution during her demanding years as a teen, I am pleased that her relationship with her 15-year-old daughter is less rocky, more intimate, than ours was two decades ago. And my son is married and produced my second granddaughter in April.

I am grateful I can enjoy our easy conversations, and that they've never gotten into smoking or drugs. Having chosen to accept them as they are, rather than as I might wish them to be, we've enjoyed decorating our Christmas trees, angling for the crisp skin from our Thanksgiving turkey--I usually win the biggest strip--and, in earlier years, children's theatre, the zoo, walking in parks, etc.

When we took home our adopted children, each at three weeks, we were just delighted. Period. My decision to love them as they are has given me freedom to indulge myself for my idiosyncracies. Though I know my daughter doesn't like my asking others at a restaurant for what they aren't going to eat, the rather large part of me who dislikes waste will ask and/or gather for a take home box, rather than see food thrown out.

When my son gains weight from enjoying beer, I choose not to give advice. He already knows my preferences for his health. When he recently sold his grocery delivery business, against my advice, he managed to find a job (though paying less, it offered more freedom) in a few months.

I've gotten clear that if anything happens to my daughter, I'd stay as close to my granddaughter as she'd let me, but I wouldn't be her primary caregiver. I'm sure she would rebel at how I'd guide her.

And letting go of my longing for deep discussions with my kids has helped me look for and find what's special about them. I think I'll call them right now.

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