I am sort of a numbers nut. Not OCD, but I love the simplicity and significance of numbers; I love, okay, am slightly obsessed, with numerology. As far as a favorite, I’ve always fancied #5. Besides the fact that my whole birth-date is divisible by 5, I can remember clear as day feeling brilliant when I memorized the 5 x’s multiplication table… So, when I stumbled on to this site, “5 Things to Do Today” where every post centers around 5, I thought, yes, YES, this is a site to guest blog on! After a few false starts I found my topic: Kids. Grown ones.
When I was pregnant and sifting through piles of baby books on my night stand, those parenting guides were often my rudder on rocky waters. But now, now that my kids are essentially grown, living long miles away, in their own places, advancing in their chosen careers, I am stepping into new territory without a manual to be found. Upon reflection, I trust the basics must be the same as those that guided me for decades. So, here, I offer 5 tidbits of advice. Nothing earth shattering, perhaps nothing you haven’t thought before, but hopefully suggestions that bring an ease in your relationship with those pretty amazing young adults, your own grown kids!
- Maintain unconditional love. As hard as this was when your babies kept you up awake long past your bedtime and you thought you would never again feel normalcy, adult kids can test us some more! But equally true is that as much as those little swaddled bundles needed you then, your grown kids still need you now too. The world is not always an easy place and your kids, at any age, need to know there is someone that will show them nonstop love through all the upheavals, mishaps or changes life throws their way. If not you, then who, right?
- Listen to them. Remember listening to their magical cat tale or their detailed dream to play in the NBA or their angst-filled high school break-up? Grown kids have stories too… and if they are still willing to share them with you, be available to listen. Not to advise or weigh in necessarily, but to listen with all your attention. Their joys and their scrapes will inform you more about who they are than anything else; so listen and not only will you always know your kids but you will feel pride at how they are untangling life’s lessons.
- Visit their world. Even if you live within a close proximity, you may not know your grown kids as they are in the world. But seeing their neighborhoods, their crew, their routine, is so worthwhile and especially true if your kids live clear across the country. How do they order a sandwich from their favorite deli? How do they greet their co-workers? Walk with them through a day, in effect, walk in their shoes and learn how the world views them. Your daughter may be managing far more than she lets on and your son might be working harder than anyone else in his office. Seeing our kids’ strengths helps us let go a bit, which is what all kids are waiting for, and yet many parents struggle to accomplish.
- Play. Remember how you couldn’t wait until little Suzie was old enough to kick a ball or young Mac could play an in-tune tune? Well, now that they are grown, running or singing, out there doing, just like you encouraged them for all those years, are you sitting nearby on a blanket, living as a pedestrian? Unless life has altered what you can or cannot do physically, (and if it has I encourage you to find other avenues of play) then be active with your kids. I don’t mean house painting, but some activity that you both loved then and still love now. Walking is the simplest, and can be done anywhere by most of us, so at the very least, invite your kids to take a walk and see what’s new in the world around you. Be sure to laugh along with the play.
- Continue to grow. Yes, be a model of learning for your kids. Just as they watched your every move when they were younger, and it seemed somewhat comical at first when you saw your own grumpy expression on their little unlined face, or the way they clumsily ran the bases just like you did, your grown kids will face life with a brave face or waiting in the shadows, just as you. I learned this from watching my parents and relatives march right into their 70’s and 80’s and never look back… Some lucky few are still marching, planning trips and new learning instead of living in sorrow and regret.
There you have it. 5. Perfect for today.