I had a great time with the Favorite Son, FD-I-L, and FGrandKids on our Caribbean cruise, though it had its highs and lows----like weather glitches which caused the ship's itinerary to change fairly radically, the challenges of relationships which must survive seven days of close contact without too much pain, the beauty of the land and seascapes, the everpresent awareness that very few people have the resources to spend a week bobbing on a luxury liner, eating gourmet meals daily, being served by a skilled yet less-privileged cadre of stewards, maids, waiters, mechanics, and other workers.
But I learned a lot. I might even have written enough useful insights into my journal that I might be able to legitimately write off a fraction of this trip's cost as a business expense. I'm sure I can get some mileage out of the lengthy entries on classism and overindulgence and my own guilty feelings about my privilege. There are also some entries about what it feels like to spend a week trying NOT to parent the FS, who has enough of his own parenting responsibilities and doesn't need to fend off mine.
Oh yes, put a mother who has definite ideas about parenting and health-related issues into a week of extensive contact with her only child and just see what happens as she tries to keep her mouth shut about any number of minor and not so minor differences of opinion! Watch as she bites little bits of her tongue off daily! See the fingernails shrink! See the lips clamp shut!
He knows well the things he does that distress me. I wish he would think about the longterm consequences of his day to day actions, none of which are illegal, just not healthful. But it has ceased to be my opinion that matters the most; someday he may consider those consequences as they affect his family relationships. And that's the way it should be, I think. At least we agree on that one.
We have to quit parenting our kids at some point. We never outgrow our need to give them advice, to solve their problems for them, to tell them how to live. I guess all we can do is model the best behavior we can, stand ready to pick up the pieces if necessary, and refrain from the urge to say "I could have told you that would happen!"
But it's really hard.