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2012-09-26 / Loose Ends

Loose Ends

When does parenting end?
Susan Nienow

All the visits are over and most of the kids are settled in their new homes. Unfortunately, one of them has encountered bad smells, a leaking washing machine and subsequent flooding, a malfunctioning dishwasher and an on-and-off fridge in the two apartments he has lived in this past month. He said it would be a literary opportunity if he were a writer.

Our daughter will settle on the West Coast when she quits living out of a suitcase sometime in October. Housing is expensive and hard to find. She knows someone in business there who lives in a shed with no plumbing for $850 a month. I offered to provide her with a cardboard box if she could find an appropriate bridge with great views to live under.

And still, the garage and upstairs bedroom are full of, well, things that aren’t ours. In the next few months we have to figure out how to get these things to two different states out west for a price that isn’t more than the stuff is worth. I think that rules out everything but driving a rental truck out there. I am not volunteering to drive or to keep the driver company.

I thought parenting turned into grandparenting when the first grandchild was born. But parenting adult children is a far more difficult job than I imagined. It entails biting my tongue, repeating, “That’s a great idea,” in my sleep and being a cheerleader on the outside while I worry on the inside. Since they don’t live here, I am never exactly sure when I should worry and when I don’t need to, so that is a good thing.

My other half insists that worrying never accomplishes anything. But I do it so well, I’m sure it must be good for something. One thing is clear. The kids don’t want advice. My daughter just laughs when I try to give her any. Last time she said, “Are you telling me how to do laundry?” Actually I am.

She puts all of her laundry in one load. She doesn’t separate lights and darks! Her feeling is that she is too busy to cater to her laundry so if something doesn’t survive her methods, it’s gone.

My son says, “Good idea, Mom,” and then does what he wants. He learned that as a teenager. Would the person who taught him that please step forward now?

Yesterday morning we drove our daughter to the airport. Before she even got out of the car she knew her flight had been delayed, and she would miss her connection. How did she know? Her phone told her.

We offered to wait with her but no need. She had some business calls to make and emails to answer. We dropped her off at the door. Ten minutes later she texted us to say that she got a direct flight and would get to Dallas 20 minutes before her original flight was to arrive. How did she do that without her mother?

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