Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

April 5, 2012

Celebrating Freedom – Connected To Adult Children, From a Distance

Filed under: Tools for Life Posts — by Life's Toolbox @ 3:17 pm
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       We are hours away from the Jewish holiday of Passover, a wonderful celebration of freedom from oppression and the spiritual growth of the Jewish people.  Families will gather around seder tables, sharing song, dialogue and food.  The hope is to inspire the young to question and the adults to feel rejuvenated, as if they themselves experienced redemption.  I have fond and vivid memories of children standing on their chairs to proudly demonstrate their latest learning.  I can easily feel the pride at their amazing accomplishments.

We are years from those days of little children underfoot.  Blessed with adult children, all well ensconced in their lives, holidays present the challenge of staying connected, even when we are apart.  I am well aware that there are parents that mourn their children’s growth – saddened by their first steps, distressed at the first day of school, tearful as they move into their dorm.  I am not one of those.  I greeted each of my children’s milestones with joy and pride, seeing these signs of normal growth not as moves away, but as steps forward, in the direction they were destined to travel. So this year, as we approach the holiday most associated with families around the table, I will miss the children who will not be with us.  But I am genuinely joyful at their “freedom”.

One of our children will be trekking with his bride to share the holiday with her lovely family.  We will miss the gentle warmth and genuine joy of this young couple at our table, but know they will be totally embraced and enjoyed by the in-laws.  I am so proud to have raised a boy, now man, who I trust implicitly to make his way in the world, and in his new, expanded family.  I will kvell (Yiddish for experience pride) just thinking of him sharing his insights at the seder table, trading ideas with his equally bright wife and her family.  Though I will miss his lovely singing voice and centered presence, I am certain he will be totally accepted and appreciated for the gem he is.

Another of our children is studying abroad and flourishing under Mediterranean sun and amidst ancient stones and books.  He will spend the holiday with a combination of teachers, friends and family, and I trust that whoever’s table he will join, will be graced with his good manners, keen mind and earnest and unbridled joy at learning and celebrating.  Though I will miss his probing questions and fervent faith, I know the holiday will be moving and meaningful, and that he will grow from it, as he has grown all through this year.

Our oldest child, and his new wife, will join us this Passover.  We are thrilled that they are travelling with us, and will enrich our seder table.  We look forward to their bright spirits and deep thoughts – filling our holiday with meaning and fun, in equal measure.   We know that their life’s journey, like their siblings, may take them any number of places, so time together is a treat, to be relished and appreciated.

We are relatively new to this phase in our lives, this parenting of adults.  We are learning as we go, making mistakes certainly, but hopefully sharing our pride and love with our growing children so that they know their growing is okay, their moves forward are not moves away.  We hope they will move and change as they are meant to, but will value staying connected as much as we do.

We will celebrate this holiday of freedom and redemption with a somewhat empty nest, but with very full hearts.  Where ever they are, we will feel connected to our wonderful children and children-in-law, beautifully grown and growing, by love that knows no bounds.

 

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