Monday, December 23, 2013

Parenting in Old Age...

Well, not REAL old age, of course, as I'm only 71 and a half and have been the recipient of admiring comments by the docs and nurses at the eye clinic where I've been this past year, making 21 round trips to Portland for surgeries and followup visits.  One nurse put it well:  "I hardly know any 71 year old women who don't take anything but vitamins!"  Made me proud, even as I start to think about jettisoning most of my daily supplements.

Now that we've cleared up the old age issue, the real topic of this post is the re-learnings I'm having to make about being a mother.  My dear son is 41 years old, with a wife and family, and every time I see him I have to re-learn how to be the mother of an adult.

How many times, for example, have I listened to other adults describe religious views which are somewhat different from mine, not needing to interrupt them or suggest another point of view?  I can do this with just about anyone, from wildly, radically liberal to wildly, radically conservative---except my son.  Can't keep my mouth shut when he reveals that he has gone a step farther than I have in his concept of the universe.  Can't quit trying to redirect the topic.  Can't understand why he thinks I'm being critical.

Somehow I think I have to keep on shaping and training him, even when he is well into the age of maturity and has done a pretty good job of shaping and training himself since he reached adulthood.  He's a really decent man, smart, outspoken, funny, liberal, loving.  The trajectory was set for him a long time ago; why is it so surprising to me that he has continued on that arc beyond the point at which he has outpaced me? 

Granted, I know more about a few things than he does.  But the ways he has outpaced me, knowledge-wise, are many.  His world is so different from mine that there is no way to call him back.  He was born in one world and has shot, lightning-like, into another world where he is the knowledgeable one and I am clinging to the few tendrils of mastery I still have.

Someday he will have to learn the techniques of parenting adult children.  That's my only consolation right now, except for the firm conviction that he continues to be the same loving, caring boy-become-man who had to be urged to eat his vegetables long years ago.  He's still eating his vegetables and he's still funny and quirky.  I guess that's something, anyhow.

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