It's more than a decade ago, but I remember with an almost tearful fondness a weekend spa vacation I took with Alpha Daughter. She was living on the west coast; I was on the east. We met somewhere in the west-middle. She was six months pregnant; I was excited about the granddaughter-to-be. It wasn't necessarily The Best Vacation Ever--the spa food was okay; the exercise classes so-so; the hikes either too challenging or not challenging enough--but it was a precious time. I already had an inkling how rare time alone with a grown child would be. Once they have a career, a Significant Other, children or a home in another city or country, such times are prized because they are so rare.
Nostalgia for that trip kicked in when a friend came back from a weekend in New York City with her 30-something-and-single daughter. Her daughter used Airbnb to book an efficiency apartment on the lower tip of Manhattan for the two of them. Mother and daughter took in the High Line, waited two hours in line for discount tickets to a Broadway show, met up with an aunt and niece for dinner and walked from the tip of Manhattan to mid town. The camaraderie, the unpressured time for exchanges of confidences, the insights into how her daughter feels about her plans for the future (she's shipping out to Zambia for a two-year assignment in a few months) gave my friend some solace over the geographic distance that will make weekend get-aways together improbable for a while.
Not that it always works out. A dad I know, divorced from his grown daughter's mother, took his daughter for what was planned to be an extravagant weekend in New York--except that she was hostile and generally uncooperative about going anywhere or doing anything. If the underlying relationship is dysfunctional, the together-time may be as well.
As we get older and our children have children that are reaching their teens, many of us are taking our Grands on getaways. Those trips can be bonding, insightful and altogether delightful--but they aren't a substitute for time alone with a grown son or daughter.