Mamas, Look Forward to the Joy of Parenting Adult Children

Us mamas, when our kids are young we often have this dread of them growing up.  We try to savor every moment, cause we’ve been told (and it’s true!) we’ll blink and our kids will be grown.  (I’m not there yet with my kid with Down syndrome, so I’m talking about my other 2 kids in this post.)

We know that’s going to be so hard for us, so throughout our kids’ childhoods, there are bittersweet moments ripe with that knowledge.    And it’s true too, it IS hard when our kids grow up.  The transition period when a child leaves home is just hard.

BUT,  I’m here to tell you that are is also great joy to look forward to when your kids grow up!

Mama still in the trenches, ponder for a moment how sweet it will be if one day you get to enjoy a sweet friendship with your adult children.  And, it’s different with each kid, but hopefully you’ll have some shared interests.

You’ve spent many years putting their needs ahead of yours.  As an adult, they now have a better appreciation for what you’ve been up to all these years.

I remember talking to a friend a couple of years back when Jordan was engaged.  At the time, this friend had a married daughter and one grandchild.  She assured me that there were sweet times ahead, that after an adjustment period I had good things to look forward to.  She wasn’t wrong; and I’m here to encourage you as she did me.

Jay, me, Evan, Jordan, her husband, Josh and our little punkin’ Jessie is in the middle front.

When our kids are little, a lot of our time together is caretaking or doing things they find enjoyable.  I enjoyed my kids more and more as they got older because they enjoyed more of the things that I did.

Can I just say that I mostly didn’t like kid movies, even some of the Disney ones?  It was sometimes torture, thinking of all the things I needed to do as I sat between them watching a movie.  As my kids got older I have really liked that we could enjoy the same tv shows and movies.

I LOVE that I can sit and talk with my adult children, have coffee outside with them, float leisurely in the pool talking or not (just relaxing, no antics required!), take a walk with them, and not have to spank or threaten anyone while eating dinner out.  Go shopping for clothes (no whining) or plant shopping.  You know, the things you like to do with your friends.

Those people you gave yourself up for daily, teaching and training and taking care of for years have turned out to be pretty good company.

Recently, I was sitting watching tv and suddenly got a wild hair to jump up and run to a local nursery. I called my daughter spontaneously to see if she would want to join me. I had just finished watching a movie and in the movie there was a scene with a pretty window and plants in it that just set me off.  I had known I wanted to go soon and that scene made me decide it needed to be today.  Does that ever happen to you?

I knew she too had been wanting to find some plants for her front yard and we had said  that we should go together soon.  I love that she’s getting to be more and more like her mama in this way.  Gives me hope we’ll be able to enjoy this together for a long time to come.

Before I could leave, I had to clean up a Bad Buddy (our rambunctious and curious kitten) mess.  Buddy has reached a new level of skill and destruction.  He’s never gotten on the mantle before, but I saw him, and couldn’t get there quickly enough before he knocked off a pretty white glass candle off the mantle.  This required me to chase him around the room a good minute with the spray bottle hoping it would deter him from thinking the mantle was a good idea.

We arrived at the nursery with two hours before closing time and we stayed till the last minute.  We enjoyed leisurely looking, sometimes together, sometimes separately.  I was able to tell Jordan about some of the plants I knew about.  There was a fella working there who was extremely knowledgeable about shrubs, fruit trees, and organic gardening.   You name it, he knew about it.  He was a walking almanac! We had questions and he had answers, for about an hour 🙂

It was such a relaxing time, being with one of my favorite people doing one of my favorite things. There’s not much I enjoy more than a spring day leisurely lolligagging at a nursery.

Later that same day the kids had asked us to all eat dinner together.  It had been a few weeks since Jay’s birthday.  He wasn’t suspicious since his birthday had passed.  Evan and Jordan had been scheming together for weeks.  They had bought their dad a gun they knew he wanted, and Evan wanted to present it to him in the same place and in the same way he had been given his first hatchet on his 12th birthday.

We had been eating dinner at Things and Wings, (somewhere we went to eat a lot) and Daddy had slid the hatchet (had a leather cover on the blade) under the edge of Evan’s leg.  It took a minute before he felt it and looked down.  He was thrilled with the gift and the fun way we surprised him.

Now, some 9 years later we sat squished, 6 of us in a large booth.  It took some sneaky work getting Jay to go along with us all in the crowded booth. It wouldn’t work if we sat at a table.  I pictured the gun slipping off the chair and folks freaking out.  Evan sat between Jay and me and slowly slid the gun under the edge of Jay’s leg so he would reach down.  Jay was really surprised and excited and of course said the kids shouldn’t have spent that much money.

It was really sweet that, obviously, the hatchet surprise was something Evan thought back fondly on since he wanted to create the same experience for his dad.  It was awfully sweet too that the kids bought something for Jay that he wouldn’t buy for himself, at least not anytime soon.

Some weekends when Evan is home, although he sleeps here we might not see him much.  This Sunday, Evan was around the house most of the day and preparing for his work week.  He grilled enough chicken to take for his lunch for several days and studied for the paper portion of a crane test (learning to operate a crane).

I had asked if he wanted to watch a movie and he had said he didn’t really have time.  I decided to put the movie on anyway while I folded laundry and matched socks.  He couldn’t help it, he got interested in it too.  Maybe that’s cause the movie had Jennifer Anniston in it 🙂  The movie was Mother’s Day, and although it is a chick flick we had a good time laughing together watching it.

This particular weekend I had time individually with each of my adult kids and we had time together as a family. That isn’t something that happens all the time and the joy of the weekend inspired this post to encourage those of you that aren’t there yet.

It IS hard when I watch Evan drive out of the driveway after a weekend at home.  Often,  I’ve been fine all week and then my heart aches fresh when he pulls out. When he knows I need it, he lets me have the long hugs and extra kisses.

Sometimes it’s still the same when I hug Jordan at the end of a good time together and we go to separate homes.  I am enjoying more than words can express though how fun it is to have a daughter for a friend.

There are, of course, no guarantees with parenting.  There is no certainty it will end up this way.  There’s a good chance though, after all those years of parenting you’ll get the sweet gift of enjoying their friendship as adults.  It’s the best! Look forward to it.

Till next week,


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