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Staying connected with your adult children.


rohdy
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So here's my problem. I have 3 grown children, all single, ages 34, 28 and 27. The oldest two live within 10 miles of home, the youngest is in Philadelphia. She moved there back in 2002 to go to med school, having gotten her 4yr degree an hour from home. We understand how intense med school can be and we left her alone, (she begrudgingly let us) visit her once a year and she came home at Christmas. She graduated this past June and is now doing her internship. She remains in Philly, she loves the area and has a boyfriend we all adore there. I know the Internship phase is just as intense, if not more so, then anything else she has done....but....she was not able to make it home for Christmas this year and we want to go out and see her in April. Not take up huge chunks of her time...just have dinner with her and the b/friend. This evening I sent her a text saying we were coming out in April and received one back saying that would not be a good time for her and she appreciates our understanding.

But I don't understand.

We don't call her, unless we haven't heard from her in a month. We text maybe once a month.

I don't know how to tell her...or if I should tell her, how hurt I am that we can't just come and take her to dinner. Personally if it were up to me, we would be going out and taking her to dinner every other month! But we don't. Once in her 2nd year of med school we called to say we were coming out to take her to dinner (she was leaving as soon as school was out to spend 6 weeks in Ecuador) and she thought it was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard said, "That's an awful long way to come.....just for dinner!" Like we were nuts or something.

She has always been an overly independent spirit.

And the thing that really irks me...she spent the evening having dinner with his family. Granted it was his belated b-day celebration....but it just made me feel worse.

Luckily we have met his family and they are terrific people....so that makes me real happy.

I'm wandering....sorry.

Any suggestions from anyone on how I should handle this? Abide by her wishes and get over myself? Let her know I'm hurt and would like more contact?

I seriously don't know what to make of this whole Internship phase.....like this month.....she is working Monday through Friday and is off on the weekends. Before this rotation she was working 12-14 hour days, 18 days in a row. I guess she doesn't know to far in advance what she will be working next....

Has anyone here gone through a similar thing and how did you handle it?

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So here's my problem. I have 3 grown children, all single, ages 34, 28 and 27. The oldest two live within 10 miles of home, the youngest is in Philadelphia. She moved there back in 2002 to go to med school, having gotten her 4yr degree an hour from home. We understand how intense med school can be and we left her alone, (she begrudgingly let us) visit her once a year and she came home at Christmas. She graduated this past June and is now doing her internship. She remains in Philly, she loves the area and has a boyfriend we all adore there. I know the Internship phase is just as intense, if not more so, then anything else she has done....but....she was not able to make it home for Christmas this year and we want to go out and see her in April. Not take up huge chunks of her time...just have dinner with her and the b/friend. This evening I sent her a text saying we were coming out in April and received one back saying that would not be a good time for her and she appreciates our understanding.

But I don't understand.

We don't call her, unless we haven't heard from her in a month. We text maybe once a month.

I don't know how to tell her...or if I should tell her, how hurt I am that we can't just come and take her to dinner. Personally if it were up to me, we would be going out and taking her to dinner every other month! But we don't. Once in her 2nd year of med school we called to say we were coming out to take her to dinner (she was leaving as soon as school was out to spend 6 weeks in Ecuador) and she thought it was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard said, "That's an awful long way to come.....just for dinner!" Like we were nuts or something.

She has always been an overly independent spirit.

And the think that really irks me...she spent the evening having dinner with his family. Granted it was his belated b-day celebration....but it just made me feel worse.

Luckily we have met his family and they are terrific people....so that makes me real happy.

I'm wandering....sorry.

Any suggestions from anyone on how I should handle this? Abide by her wishes and get over myself? Let her know I'm hurt and would like more contact?

I seriously don't know what to make of this whole Internship phase.....like this month.....she is working Monday through Friday and is off on the weekends. Before this rotation she was working 12-14 hour days, 18 days in a row. I guess she doesn't know to far in advance what she will be working next....

Has anyone here gone through a similar thing and how did you handle it?

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(((rohdy)))

Personally...I think you should tell her. If you always allowed this pattern to continue never telling her that you need to see her, then she may think that this is actually how you want things to be. I know internship can be tough...but they are allowed to eat and come home and have a break. Its possible that when you texted her she was in the middle of a very stressful time and couldn't even think that far ahead so she gave you that very abrupt answer. But I bet she didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I think this is the time that you need to have an open communication with your kids. If this situation is not acceptable to you...tell her. You are her parents. You are family...and that is very important. I suggest sending an email letting her know that you understand she is busy and may be having a lot of stress in her life at this time...but one dinner is not too much to ask. If your schedule is flexible let her set the time...but be firm that you need to get together once in a while and while you appreciate her independent spirit.... she should not throw away family and take them for granted, specially if she is getting ready to start her own. On your end, you also have to realize that she is in a very stressful time in her life, it is possible things are not going too good or she is getting overwhelmed. When this happens it is easy to become too focused in your problem not realizing that you may be hurting those you love. So tell her how you feel and let her know you simply want to keep in touch and not interfere in anyway.

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:hugs-1:

rohdy - I don't know your situation or anything, but my initial reaction (if one of my kids did that) would be to text back a message including one or more of the following statements. Or better still, write her a note in a Hallmark card, the kind like in the commercials. :)

I don't understand.

Life is short.

Family is important.

You are important to me.

I love you.

I want to see you.

If that's not a good time, I want to know when is.

I'd like to keep in touch more often.

I know you're busy, but [insert any statement from above]...

and here's the kicker...... WE'RE NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER!!

Or --- I'd call her and discuss this and make sure she knows it's important to you to be able to see her.

Would it work to put a webcam on your computer and ask her to put one on hers so you can keep in touch more often?

There is always the option of just showing up. :cryingwlaughter: (but it's probably not a good one!!)

My daughter who just moved back here from SF would not keep in touch very well, sometimes less than once a month, and it drove me crazy too. The only saving grace was that I knew she would return here to her roots when she was finished with school. She did, and was staying with us for about 8 weeks before just moving out this past weekend (yesterday!). She is still fairly close, within an hour's drive (depending on traffic!)

Good luck I really hope you can resolve this!! Vent here all you want to! :F_05BL17blowkiss:

eta: You can also say - It hurts my feelings when I think that you don't want to see me. <--- the honest route.

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Thanks Cha-cha....I think I will pull together a letter while on vacation these next two weeks.

The trick will be to not lay on a obvious guilt trip.

It's always bugged me that she has been so over the top independent...but I encouraged all the kids to go and see the world....I just didn't think we wouldn't be welcome to come visit/do dinner.

As you said, we are not getting any younger and this past September I lost my best friend of 35 years to cancer, she was 4 years younger then I am. I don't know how much of 'that' is messin' with my feelings as well.

It helped to write about it here where I was pretty sure I could get some helpful feedback.

I have and I thank you.

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It is possible that she prefer you said, we'd like to come, when would be a good time for you? And then if her suggestion isn't good for you, you can go back and forth on it.

It's also possible that something isn't going well for her, and she doesn't want you to know.

If I were her, I'd feel really guilty about my parents driving a long way just to have dinner with me. It would make me feel like a jerk. Even if I were crazy busy and didn't have a lot of time. Even if they made it clear that it was OK with them.

It sounds pretty complicated.

Definitely sounds like a talk is in order.

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JMH.....I started with the 'when can we come' chatter long ago....she ignores it. And actually right now she is on one of her better rotations, emergency room.... with weekends off. This weekend she threw her boyfriend a surprise birthday on Saturday, then spent Sun afternoon and evening with his family.

Perhaps her April is going to be super busy. Though she did indicate that spring would not be a good time to visit...so that takes us into June.

I don't think it would bug me so much, if we could even just talk to her on a regular basis. Saturday was the first time we had a chance to talk to her in 5 weeks and the conversation lasted all of 8 minutes.

She loves getting mail...so probably a letter is the way I am going to have to go.

And JMH....if your parents ever want to drive a long way...just to have dinner with you...LET THEM! LOL

It's one of the normal everyday things we do with the two kids living close by, it'd be nice to do just that with her as well. Even if it does involve a 10 hour drive, one way.

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Okay ladies....thank you for all your help today. I will sleep much better tonight, knowing I'm not totally overboard and hoping a good ole fashion letter will help us settle this.

But for now, I am off to finish the last of my packing, it's off to the airport with me at 4 in the morning, hubby and I are off to Florida for two weeks.

See you all when I get back.

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I completely understand how you feel. My children are younger, but my youngest tends to have that very “private” independent temperament.

It seems the situation with your daughter is a pattern that developed early....one that should have been nipped in the bud. But it wasn’t. So now what?

The present situation has been brewing for basically six years or just about a quarter of her lifetime. I think the problem stems from a combination of immaturity on her part (independent is not synonymous with mature) and overindulgence on your part (in an effort to give her space and let “her be her”.)

I’m projecting....but I would be angry with myself for letting the situation get so inequitable. And I’d be angry with my daughter for acting like a brat. (even great kids can act like a brat sometimes)

To me the situation is like an aircraft carrier that needs to come to port. You and your husband are the tugboats that have to get it there.

th_Tug_boats_-_CV_67.jpg

As you know, tugboats are small but strong and highly maneuverable.....especially compared to the aircraft carrier.

I sense timidity in the tone of your original post. I think you might need an attitude adjustment. I am of the opinion that what you are requesting from your daughter is completely reasonable. COMPLETELY. REASONABLE.

The bond a daughter has for her mother is very different from the bond a mother has for her daughter. It’s just biology. She doesn’t get that. The fact that you need to physically see and touch her every once in a blue moon is normal and natural. I don’t care how demanding someone’s job is, nobody is so busy they can’t find two hours to spare once in a blue moon.

In a situation like this the hardest thing for me would be to choke back my anger...even though I know that unleashing that anger will only bring a giant guilt trip. I would have to pray REALLY hard because that’s my Achilles heal. Once I can proceed from love I would tell her the truth about what I feel and what I need. You know she likes to receive mail so write her a letter. Then maneuver her like you’re a tugboat. I do not mean manipulate her. I mean be honest and flexible but firm.

You need X and you’re willing to accommodate her...but you expect her to give you X (because X is completely reasonable). That’s how mature relationships work. We each set a price on ourselves. You’re in love with each other...right? Tell her how you feel. Let her be a grown up. Let her be accountable to maintain a healthy relationship with her parents.

If she is uncomfortable with the concept of you driving specifically to see her then make her part of some bigger plan (or make her think she’s part of some bigger plan)... a weekend in NY or visiting friends in Chester County.

Worse comes to worse....I live in the Philadelphia suburbs. If you want me to, I will go kick her ass for you. :whistling-1: Just kidding.

Good luck. And keep in mind I'm an idiot and don't know what I'm talking about most of the time.

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Back from Florida and Dream....I love what you have to say!

And you're right I/we have been overindulgent in letting her have her 'space'.

I still haven't written my letter to her....but will keep what you have said in mind...along with all the other great advice I have received here.....when I do.

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Yay! So I saw my baby! And it was wonderful! Her boyfriend even commented that each evening after we left, she was so happy! So was I!

So...I had a hubby who didn't think we should just tell her we were coming and do it. But eventually I wrapped it all up with, 'Hey it's our anniversary....there are so many things we have wanted to see and do in Philly, I say this year, we go to Philly to celebrate. Let the youngest know we will be in town and which nights. If she has time to do dinner with us fine....if not that's fine, too.'

He didn't say much, but I kept him informed as to my/our plans.

We arrived in Philly late Thursday evening, did our stuff during the day and had dinner with her and the boyfriend on Fri Eve and they cooked for us on Sat. The kid made an amazing honey/mustard/ crushed glazed pecan coating for salmon steaks. Yum!

We left for home early Sun. morning. While we were standing in the parking lot (hubby was having one last puff before we piled in the car) this black car comes flying into the lot, straight into a handicapped parking spot. Being my usual judgemental self I asked, "What the heck is his disability!!" Don't ya know, the boyfriend jumped out of the car, walked over to us and said, "I have to say this before I puke. May I marry your daughter?"

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...happy anniversary to me!!

Trouble is......it's a big secret and I'm not supposed to tell anyone for two months, while he has the ring made!

So anyone who reads here is sworn to secrecy 'cause heaven knows I can't keep my mouth shut!!! LOL

So to wrap it all up with a pretty ribbon....I hope she now knows that if and when we come out, we don't expect her to drop everything for us. And I hope hubby understands that it really is okay if we just show up for dinner. She was happy to see us, we were thrilled to get to touch base with her.

And she will be home in October!

You'll love this, her two best friends/room mates from college were Jocelyn and Julie. She is a Jillan. We called then the 3 J's. Anyhow, 2 years ago Jocelyn married the love of her life, Mike. In October, Julie is marrying the love of her life, Mike. And yes, one day Jillan will be marrying the love of her life, Mike.

My J with her Mike..

th_Philly29.jpg

Thanks to everyone here who offered up advice and opinions, then left me to figure out what is best for me and mine.

We have a happy ending!

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Awww Rohdy...I have goose bumps all over!!! SO happy for you and glad it all ended in a high note.

thanks so much for sharing...my kids are still 15, 13 and 7 but I bet I will have similar challenges... and hope they all end happy too.

you have a beautiful daughter and they look great!!!

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Awwww! That made me tear up - in a good way! How wonderful for all of you, roh! :F_05BL17blowkiss:

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Awww, that's great rohdy, I am happy for you. At this point in my life, I have no trouble staying connected with my adult children, since they keep moving out and then coming back home. LOL. But one day I may be in your position. So I make the most of my time with them now.

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That is so wonderful, it is great to hear a happy ending story like that.

So did you yell at her boyfriend for parking in the handicap zone, Hee.

Actually, since I didn't know why he was there....that was the first thing I said to him!! Then he went into his 'gonna puke' chatter and I kinda backed off.... :lilredani:

And as for the clean apartment.....they had just moved in Mother's Day. I'll let ya know how it goes after my next visit....whenever.

Thanks again for all your congratulations, comments, advice and help.

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