Blog 2606 – 12.17.2022
The Parent Trap
Today’s blog title is also the title of a Disney Movie, two in fact, the first one with a young English actress, Haley Mills, playing twin girls who meet at summer camp for the first time and trade places to meet their other parent and the second some years later with Mean Girls American actress Lindsay Lohan in the same role. Haley faked an American accent and Lindsay an English one. But the parent trap I refer to is not a trap for catching parents but of another variety altogether.
While getting the third of six therapy sessions on a knee that has been bothering me lately yesterday, my chiropractor was talking about her two college-aged girls coming home for Christmas this year and how often some parents seem frustrated with how little time their grown children spend with them. She has been my wife’s chiropractor for many years and knows we have a grown son and asked how often we see him. I told her that Jonathan comes by for a few hours with his wife Lauren about once a month but that is far more than my lovely and lovely wife Linda saw hers and I mine. Linda’s parents lived in South Carolina and mine in Tennessee and since we both moved away from home to Houston, Texas, where we met and married, we saw them once a year for a few days. We loved them and only Linda’s mom Betty is left us but fortunately we get to see her once a week as she lives in Spring, Texas with Linda’s sister Sarah.
I recall both wishing that we could see our parents more and at the same time being a little resentful that for many years the only vacations we ever took were to South Carolina or Tennessee. I so wanted to see more of the world with my wife and children. We did eventually.
Parents who expect to see a lot of their children after they are grown should have daughters for girls are in most cases better at that sort of thing or perhaps they are just easier to snare in the ole parent guilt trap. Our children do not owe is a debt they can never repay or one they must pay us by visiting us weekly, spending hours on the phone with us, and taking care of us in our old age.
The job of parents is to raise children to be on their own and from that first triumphant step our babies are learning to walk away from us, leave the nest, and build lives of their own.
Linda and I are grateful for any visits we get from our son Jonathan. He like most sons marvels at how often his wife wants to see her parents. Our daughter Emily lived the last ten or so years of her life near Washington, DC. It was her favorite place and we visited her there and she us here. I hope she never felt trapped into visiting us and that Jonathan never does either.
I started this piece thinking I might talk about being trapped in a religion where a demanding Big Daddy or Big Mama is always watching. Perhaps another day. Today I think regular parent traps are enough to think about. It is said if you love someone set them free and if they come back to you that you will know they really love you. Why would anyone be interested in any other kind of love?
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Bless The Beasts And The Children