"Only connect." That's the famously underlying theme of E. M. Forster's Howards End. It also applies to our relationship with our grown children. We want to stay in touch--not just on a superficial level. We want to know what's happening in their lives, where we can help, where we can offer advice. And there are also those vicarious thrills. After all, our lives are slowing down while their's are picking up speed. And the place where those places interconnect can be uncomfortable. Forster is far from the only writer to look at the frailty of those connections.
Poet Cortney Davis captures the essence of a difficult parent-child moment when she writes of a parent and grown child sitting in an airport cafe:
How's work? I'll ask my son, trying to catch up.
He'll concentrate on his plate. I'll pick up the bill.