During the pandemic lockdown many of us experienced a strange shift in the balance between us and our grown kids: Instead of our previous parental controls, they were "ordering" us around--telling us we had to stay home, stop going out to buy groceries and order take-out food delivered.
It came, of course, from an overabundance of care that we were in the over-60 group that was prone to deadly Covid attacks.
Well, the pandemic is mostly over. We're vaccinated now. We're able to shop at supermarkets without our masks on--and without admonitions from our children. But as the fog of the pandemic clears, there's still some re-balancing going on. These are of a lower level than the "pandemic orders." And yet, the old order changeth yielding place to the new.
One mom tells me that for most of her daughter's high school years, the daughter borrowed her mom's clothes--appropriated might be a better word. Now her young adult daughter sheds her clothes in a mini-moment of style. The mom picks up the discards and is now wearing them. It almost never happens that the daughter wants to be seen in her mom's sweaters.
Then there's the dad who loved to introduce his pre-teen son and daughters to a beloved book or watch his favorite old movies with them. Now that they're young adults, they are introducing him to music he never heard before, to dance crazes that are part of their world and to poets with whom he is totally unfamiliar. He's happy to learn all about the new world but he's rarely the one who comes up with cultural touchstones anymore.
Among those of us who have kids older than the young adult stage, we may be surprised at how influential their voice can be. A friend whose husband had balance problems but refused to use a cane found the adult daughters sending their dad a handsomely carved, wooden, walking stick. It was better looking than the sensible cane his wife was pushing. And, because it came from his kids, somehow he found it more acceptable. A rebalancing act.
painting: Readers by Theresa Bernstein