The Holidays start tomorrow, and I’m cooking all day in the kitchen today! I love the day before Thanksgiving almost as much as my family loves the actual Thanksgiving meal. I’m planning a big Thanksgiving feast post tomorrow, but here’s a question I received concerning “parenting” adult children that I want to respond to. The Holidays is where families either get together or, sadly, avoid one another, which, as you’ll read, is tearing this mom apart.
I’m cooking all day today and am planning a big cooking post for tomorrow, but I first wanted to reflect on a sad reality: When adult children don’t want to visit.
Okay, here’s the letter I received:
What do you do when your adult child that has moved out doesn’t get around to see you and it is killing you inside? My adult child, spouse and baby are coming in next week and it looks like we are only going to see them a couple hours one day and a couple the next. Out of their whole trip we only get a few hours and it is tearing me apart.
I need to know what I should do. I don’t know what to pray for cause I am hurting so bad. I want so much to spend time with my grandchildren so they will actually will remember me when I am not here. I have no idea when we will be able to get together again. Please give me some guidance as to what to do for I am hurting so much. I love my children beyond belief and want to be a part of there lives as much as I can.
I am so sorry for this. I know it hurts. Your adult children are not trying to hurt you. I have two adult children, and I’ve learned to recognize that sometimes they do things that you think they should know would hurt you, but they are too involved with their adult lives to understand. They just don’t see it the way you do right now.
But here’s the guidance you and every parent of adult children should take: Be kind to them when they visit. Like, overly nice, even if it is a short time. Offer meals, let them stay at your place, offer to babysit for free, pay for gas if you can. Take them out for lunch and insist on paying, or pack a picnic and meet at a park. You may not be able to make them to come over to visit, but you do have the power to “meet” them where they’re at.
When you do this, do you know how God is transforming you? He’s turning you into a Grandma. A loving grandma, one that all the kids and grandkids love to visit and hang with. That’s the kind of grandma you want to be.
Count your blessings, too. Your adult children are not in open rebellion, which is much more painful. Though their stay is going to be short, at least they’re coming over. For those who have estranged relationships with their adult children, I recommend reading The Best of Barbara Johnson by, of course, the late Barbara Johnson. She dealt with extreme rebellion from her adult son, but she wrote a lot about what she learned from it.
And our book isn’t too bad, ya know! We speak of our estranged relationship with our oldest daughter, Alicia (now 27), who today is a joy to get together with. Back then, though, we wrestled through the same pain you are feeling today. Our book Love in the House drills down deep and analyzes how the power of love can overcome any relationship problem.
Most likely, your daughter and her budding family probably just need time to grow. They are putting other things on their priority list. Though it hurts when you are pushed down the priority list, there is little wrong with it. Did you ever cross off your parents from the priority list when raising your family? Chris and I did, and though we’re sorry for it, we recognize (as do our parents) that at the time we just needed the space. The older you get and the more you parent, the more you realize that your parents are pretty neat people, that family is way more important than anything else our time demands. The journey of love teaches such truths.
Keep your chin up! Parenting is a journey, even when those little children become adults on their own. A mother’s prayers are worth it, even when your children don’t seem to appreciate it.
Now, onto cooking. We’ve got big plans for today. Lydia will be filming me whipping up some Jeub family favorites, and I hope to get them online tomorrow. If you get a chance, visit tomorrow, or subscribe to our site and we’ll remind you. Happy Thanksgiving!