One of my greatest pleasures is staying in my daughter’s home. I love that when we arrive she has cleaned and tidied the place, bought the food we like to eat and made arrangements to explore Melbourne. Best of all is that, at 26 years old, she clearly enjoys spending time with us. None of these actions are in themselves profound, they are the sorts of things that we all do when having guests to stay, however I notice and cherish them all.
If you ask parents of young children what future hopes they hold they will inevitably answer “I just want my kids to be happy”. As a parent of adult children I want more than that, and I probably always did. I want my adult children to respect me, I want them to include me, I want their lives to be full of meaningful activities and I want them to be healthy. Happiness is a feeling that turns up when we live meaningful and healthy lives. The pursuit of a permanent state of “happy” bliss is fraught with danger. Feelings come and go, so we need to cope with both the ups and the downs. Far better that my adult children be resilient and have healthy coping strategies than expect they should feel “happy” all the time.
I now know that parenting is a bit of a lottery. I have seen great parents, who have fractured relationships with their adult children, seemingly for no real reason at all. The disappointment, sadness and pain that these parents experience, at the lack of connection with their adult children, is profound.
So for now I will relish the hilarious moments with my daughter where she includes me in her life by teaching a group of us oldies the finer points of Tinder dating. I will watch on proudly as she demonstrates her resilience by determinedly carving out a life in a new city. I will see her practical preparations for our visit as loving and respectful acts. I look forward to my next stay in my daughter’s bright and cheerful home.