My daughter told me today that I'm "an inspiration" because of my dedication to my exercise regime.
My son told me last month that I'm one of his "closest friends." (I still have the text message to prove it.)
My daughter and I made a phone date recently, and talked for close to an hour, catching up on all sorts of things and planning a future rendezvous.
When I mentioned to my son that I'd take a day or two off during is next visit home, he said, "I was hoping. Wednesday can be 'our day,'" he told me.
That's the beauty of grown children. ... grown children who live afar. They only see the nice things. They only hear the pleasantries. They like you!
Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of times I bug them, with too many questions or too many phone calls or too many "likes" on their Facebook pages.
But there are no "clean up your room" nagging requests. Or, "don't stay out too late." (Well, when they are home, they may hear "What time do you think you'll be home?" a few times.)
But they probably won't hear "Get off the phone." Or, "Do your homework." ... All those things that made them roll their eyes or stomp out of a room or "oh, mom" me.
Everyone always said (and, I've said it to moms of younger kids myself), "Someday they'll like you again. Someday they'll think you do know something."
I love our adult times together. Walking, talking, shopping, visiting art museums, seeing plays, traveling. It's a totally different mindset, the times you are with an adult child, compared to the times you are with a young child.
You don't have to "parent" every minute.
In fact, it's best if you don't.
I do always remember that I am the parent, but sometimes I forget that they are the children.
(I do sometimes forget that I don't have to pay for things. But they like that.)
It's like watching a scale balance itself out. As the parent of a younger child, your side of the scale is higher. You're in charge. You've got the upper hand - usually.
But as they grow, things even out. You're on the same level with that adult child. I suppose that's why you begin to see eye-to-eye on so many more things!
- Phyllis R. Sigal is design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register and designer of Ohio Valley Parent. She is the mom of Amanda, 25, and Leland, 23.