No Worries: The Kids Are Alright

Our kids came for a visit this last weekend.

It’s their first visit since we moved here, the first they saw our new place, the first time they’ve been in Minnesota.

Before they arrived, I told Husband how strange it felt. It was like I wanted to show off the place, impress them a little. He agreed.

We wanted them to understand why we abandoned them in Arizona.

Driving away

Now let’s be clear, we knew we didn’t really abandon them. They are in their early 20s, old enough to be on their own. They have jobs, they have an apartment, they have family and friends nearby.

And yet

Why do these images persist? My daughter is at an intersection with a cardboard sign: “Hungry, Motherless, Please Help”

Angry robin 1Son is on a street downtown, playing his keyboard. He’s got a hat in front of him and he’s singing…

When you comin’ home dad?
I don’t know when.
But we’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.

We parents love riding that old guilt train, don’t we? If there isn’t enough to feel guilty about, we’ll make something up to fill the void. (One mother told me she felt guilty her daughter had to wear glasses. If she had eaten better when she was pregnant, maybe her daughter’s vision would be better.)

So it was good for us to see they were doing fine. Somehow for these last six weeks, they managed to keep themselves fed, clothed and sheltered.

Amazing.

They liked our new house, agreed the area was pretty. They seemed to enjoy Minnesota but thought our evenings were a little cold (HA HA, wimpy Arizonans!).

Still, I wondered what they thought of our moving. Did they understand? Did they think we were nuts?

It was a short trip as they had to get back for work, but before we dropped them off at the airport, we walked around Mall of America. We discovered it is one FREAKIN’ big mall. It has its own amusement park, for cryin’ out loud.

Husband and Son went on Ghost Blasters, Daughter and I did our roller coaster thing.

At some point (it may have been on the plunge down), a thought occurred to me: Our kids aren’t thinking about us.

Do you remember back when you were young and out on your own? When we’re trying to figure out the whole adult thing and find our way in the cold, cruel world? The one thing we weren’t doing at the time was sitting around wondering what our parents were up to. We had our own concerns and our parents didn’t enter into it.

Which is how it should be. Right?

They left the nest and are doing their thing, and now mama and papa bird have to figure out their thing.

So yeah. The kids are all right.

Jury’s still out on the parents, though. 😉

Author: CJ Hartwell

Christi lives in Phoenix with Husband, Son, Daughter, and Dog. She enjoys moonlit walks on the beach, but as she doesn't live anywhere near a beach, she's usually in bed by 9:30.

33 thoughts on “No Worries: The Kids Are Alright”

  1. How cool is it that we were both hanging out with our kids at the same time, you in Minnesota, me in Illinois? And yeah, I wasn’t back home for 24 hours before I wondered how the kids we’re doing without me… we are funny creatures indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed your post about us guilt tripping parents worrying
    about fully capable adults. Maybe you are still missing having them near though.
    It will settle and your home in Minnesota sounds great.

    You enjoy now
    miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! That makes me think of the writing notebook I just bought. The cover says “Lowering my expectations has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.”
      I feel that applies to my parenting style as well as my writing. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi! Long time no see! Glad you are settling in.

    I’m actually going to drive past you in about a month because my soon-to-be new employer is sending me to a conference in Brainerd. I’ll wave as we drive by. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well hey, HI! Nice to see you! (Have you written something recently? If so I missed it during our move.)

      Brainerd has quickly become one of our favorite places to visit. For one, they have Costco. For another, they have a store called Christmas Point that is like a fusion of Trader Joes, Pottery Barn, and your favorite coffee shop all rolled into one. (Please honk when you drive through and I’ll wave back!)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my gosh I was just thinking about this topic earlier today. That our kids need us occasionally for advice or help with the grandkids or maybe even money sometimes. But they don’t really need us anymore and have their own lives and friends. And that is as it should be…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re so right about reflecting back to how much you were thinking about YOUR parents when you were that age. I was mostly thrilled to NOT be thinking about them. Glad to hear you did the roller coaster! It is indeed a yuuuge mall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh believe me, I get the “not thinking about them” bonus. I feel like there’s extra room in my brain now. 🙂
      As to the mall, holy cow! I could never understand why people would make it a vacation destination. Then we visited and “ooohhhh, now I get it!”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Raising kids is about earning to let go – from the moment they arrive to the moment you depart – it’s all about growing enought to let go. Scary, and saddish sometimes, but ultimately joyful because you realise you contributed to the people they are by letting go.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. No reflection on the wee bairns, as I’m sure they are lovely people, but speaking as someone who (gasp) had to return to the fold for a recuperative bit after years of running wild and free and apparently irresponsibly, they may not necessarily stay in Arizona. Keep those extra linens on hand… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, on my side no one moved back home, on husband’s side everyone moved back at least once. So we figure we got a 50/50 shot of remaining child-free. (Not sure what we were thinking getting a house with an extra bedroom though *facepalm*)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I call it my Catholic Guilt. And I’m not actually Catholic. When I met my husband (after many years raising my daughters single handed and with the eldest aged 25 and the youngest 17) and he asked me to marry him, I trod on egg-shells so softly that I could have started a new career as a cat burglar. I told them that I didn’t want them looking over their shoulders worrying about their ageing mother and being unable to do as they pleased in their lives. I didn’t want to be a burden. They just nodded in a rather distracted way. Then I moved to France and there was a moment of murmuring and then they decided that it was really great having mummy in a great location for a vacation. And then I moved here. And I hear from them when they need me and one has visited, another two come out in October and the last is like a butterfly anyway so she will or she won’t but she will always flit beautifully. But every move I make is patterned with guilt and every so often I have to remind myself that they are getting on with their journey and although I am central to their lives in one sense, I am not the epicentre of their thoughts and feelings. I cut that cord successfully but I never managed to free myself of the guilt.

    PS: My eldest daughter is a great friend of Roger Daltrey’s son and daughter-in-law. Went to their wedding (they had three – one in London, one in the country and the other in the Caribbean, as you do). He got up and belted out The Kid’s Are Alright and other nuggets from my youth on the beach in Saint whatever Sainted island it was. Probably just as well I wasn’t there … if I get over-excited my daughter does take notice in a thoroughly humiliated sort of way …..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, don’t you love the distracted look they give whenever we tell them our hopes and dreams? So precious.
      On the other hand, maybe we wouldn’t want it any other way. Just imagine them giving their opinions on everything we did? *shudder*

      Your tenuous “relationship” to Daltrey has now raised you to an even higher level in my esteem. How’s the view from up there?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You struck several nerves with this post, Christi. The Who, young-adult children in their early 20s traveling cross-country to visit their pets, and your sketch of the cat in the car looking backward thinking RUNUTS.

    Liked by 1 person

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