Monday, October 13, 2014

Parenting, The Adult Edition

It's one of those weekends, denizens.  One of those weekends when my heart is exploding, wondering if it can contain all the love.

The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, I have a comfy chair in the shade and the ocean's roar in my ears.  There are children playing Marco Polo in the pool and lots of very fit men responding to DAD! and PAPA! with smiles and dry t-shirts and a wave of the go-back-and-play-with-your-friends hand, a command which is happily followed.  They are happy to get up and watch me hold my breath under water, and they are smiling even when she's down there and can't see him.  The smile is not for her or for me or for anyone but himself.  He's easing himself into the pool to have fun with the only female in his life right now, and Papa's face is barely big enough for his grin.

There are late teen children communing with their parents, and there's nary an electronic device in sight.  I had breakfast on the plaza this morning; my new acquisition, Lenore the Lenovo Laptop, and she was the only item with an on/off switch.  The New York Times, a paperback, a magazine or two.... it was heavenly.  Those without reading materials were conversing.... yes, denizens, there was actual conversation as I scanned the scene. 

It's one of those weekends, for sure.

I'm here because The Ballerina's daughter is marrying the love of her life tonight. I've known one of the brides since she was eight years old, I met the other one last night.  There are 65 of us here to celebrate, and each person seems to be known-by-reputation to everyone else, even though we've never laid eyes upon one anther before. 

"You're ROB!"..."her sister".... "her aunt"...."Yes, I'm Suzi!"

I know which ones are smiling behind their skepticism.  I know which ones came because it's family and that's what you do for family. To their credit, if the kids were freaking them out, they didn't show it. That's parenting, The Adult Edition.  I think it involves a letting go of the expectation that your words will be taken as The Law.  It involves an assumption that you or your cousin or your sister has raised a competent human being.  It involves putting your own needs aside for the greater good, even though you know in your heart of hearts that they are going down an evil path.

Unless there's physical danger, keeping quiet is the hallmark of parenting adults.

The celebrationt had The Ballerina flummoxed, just a bit. A traditional, non-traditional wedding, where the bride wants to be seen by her love for the first time at her wedding ... but where both will be wearing dresses .... and they really ought to compliment one another .... and "What is my role here?!?" was The Ballerina's plaintive cry.  She listened, she consulted, she cosseted and she cuddled... and she's good at all of those things. A steel magnolia, when it's important my Arkansas friend makes her points behind a smile and a stare which could bore a hole through metal. I have a sense that the two dresses, neatly steamed by a bought-here-on-site-industrial-strength-steamer and hanging side by side on the mirror in the Bridal Suite, had something to do with her persuasive powers.  I'm also fairly certain that no one recognized it while it was going on.

Getting it right feels so good when the kids are no longer in constant need of surveillance.  When they were younger, I had so many opportunities to intervene.  If I screwed it up now, there was always a later right around the corner. But distance and experience and respect demand a lesser level of involvement, even when a granddaughter is involved.

Little Cuter and SIR took FlapJilly on her first road trip this weekend.  Tailgating at the Indiana-Iowa game with SIR's extended family, it was the battle of the stripes, but all my girl seemed to focus on was her unending cold and the baby's schedule.  I cogitated.  I composed.  I deleted. I rephrased.  I hit send and I held my breath....

Great pep talk, Mama! was my reward.

Parenting adults ... it's not easy, but the rewards ... oh, denizens, the rewards.......


  1. Hi AB, I'm back from California. Had a great conference. My head is going to explode with all of the stuff I learned. :)

    The wedding sounds so lovely--and two brides to go ooh and ahh over. I love wedding dresses.

    FlapJilly's first road trip was probably a lot of fun. First time moms fret about everything (at least I did). That's why we have our mothers around to guide us along the way. I'm sure Little Cuter welcomes your advice.

    Off to go through 500+ Emails. Although I had my laptop with me, I was learning so much, I barely turned it on.


    Megan xxx

    1. Love learning.... another reason to love you!
      The road trip was fine, once she settled down and slept for 8 hours... in everyone else's arms! Then, of course, she caught the grownups' cold.....


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