Question: Dear Luise: I have only one surviving child and he lives thousands of miles away. We used to have an active email correspondence but he’s so busy he’s having to cut back to get his work done. I know it’s the way he needs to have it but I feel so cut-off. How do I cope? Carla
Answer: Dear Carla: I believe it’s an age-old problem, the discrepancy between the generations. There have always been and always will be busy grown children who are trying to juggle their schedules to fit in beloved parents who have too much time on their hands.
I know, from my own experience, how hard it is to say how you feel without having it sound like whining. And yet the avenues of communication need to be kept open, always. Let your son know that you understand…that you have actually “been there and done that” with your own parents. And remember that it’s just as hard for your son to say how he’s feeling, as well.
You’re simply not on the same page. It’s a natural law of nature that the age difference between parents and their grown children is going to bring about problems of one kind and another. Long ago you grew up and went your own way. Your son has since grown up and gone his. With work you can still stay connected. What matters most is love.
Negotiate. What do you need most? What can he give without going down the tube? (That’s just another way of asking what he needs most.) Know that the one whose life is winding down is always the one who is the least active and naturally has the most free time. That’s your problem, not his. Find as many other ways as you can to create fulfillment in your life beyond parenting.
Look for that lovely balance between being too involved and too separated. You have known of situations where a grown child is calling constantly and asking for advice. You wouldn’t want that, either.
One last word, be tickled pink that you decided to be a mom all those years ago and that you have a wonderful, grown son who loves you. What a gift! Blessings, Luise