Sometimes we get a suggestion from our writing class that sends sparks flying into our fingers and bringing forth new ideas that just seem to fit perfectly. That is what happened to me this morning.
How about when our roles as a parent just seem to become reversed with our adult children? It seems to be ingrained into our very being that we ourselves are the one who gives advice, who knows just what needs to be done, and after all, we have been practicing on our kids for many years. We hope that we have taught them the difference between right and wrong, the need to be fair in their dealings, yet show empathy for people in need, and we feel that we have generally tried our best. But we are not always around them in their daily lives, and so we really just hope for the best as they go forward. “Train a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it.”
But we don’t always know for sure. It takes a special situation to come up in order for us to stop, listen, and realize that our fears have been for nothing, that the children have exceeded our hopes, and now it is our turn to listen and watch as they begin to play the new roles with their children and their working lives. While I once played the role of the parent trying to take care of them, now it has been reversed, and they are showing me that we have been successful and they have learned that it is their turn to show affection and caring to others.
There is nothing that could please a parent more than to know that it is their turn to be the object of someone’s affection. To hear your adult child as he or she accepts the mantle of adulthood for themselves and for others is to know that you have done your job to the best you knew how at the time. When the child now wants to know how you are, instead of the other way around, you know that the rules have changed. You have relinquished the reins of parenthood to your family, in a small way, and they are willing and happy to take them up for you.
So relax, enjoy it. You have earned it over the many years when you had those sleepless nights when they came home way too late, or forgot to call instead. You have the living proof of grown adults, loving you and concerned for your wellbeing, but also busy making life happy for their own families. After all, that is what you wanted to accomplish and you have actually done it.