We're going to Seattle for Thanksgiving to see our older son's new apartment and be with both boys and assorted others. I always get a little nervous when I haven't seen them in a while; you know how it is -- you just love them so much and sometimes if it's too obvious it becomes a burden. They are wonderful sons and wonderful people and they tolerate my enthusiasm for them pretty well. Like any family, we've been through a lot together - good and bad -- and understand one another pretty well I think. But I do worry about what I do when I'm uneasy - I get way too verbal and my big effort is going to be to keep my mouth shut except when it makes sense to open it!
One thing I learned from my father (that's him on the left) is to try like hell not to tangle your kids up any more than necessary. He used to tell us that we should live our own lives and NEVER feel obligated to him; that the gift of us was all we owed him.
His own father was a classic immigrant tyrant and so he, of course, went the other way. I'll tell you, I honestly believe that his attitude made us MORE likely to call, show up and fuss over him. The only grief of it, aside from losing him, is that my mom kept telling us not to come home in his final illness, that he "would not want you to see him like this." I finally decided to go to him - fed up with being put off and horribly guilty about not doing it sooner - and he died as I was on my way there. I don't think I've completely dealt with it in the 15 years since he died -- too painful and nothing to do about it anyway -- but I don't want my kids to have that sort of experience either.
For that reason, I forced myself to call them when I was in the hospital instead of, like my own parents, waiting until I was out and OK to let them know. I really do think of them as grown men now and try to treat them with the respect I would treat other impressive men - but sometimes I slip and go "all mom" on them. They accept it with good humor but I just would love to have the discipline to give them the respect they deserve instead of indulging my own over-expressive self. I'm practicing all weekend. Can't talk anymore... shhhhh!