How to be a parent to single children in their 20's. (Holidays)
Where faith and nature do collide
It is all so complicated and stressful!. No it is not.
Schedules, planning, meals ........ Parenting does not stop ever. How we parent must. Holidays are reunion based we hope. This causes stress if we let it. How can we cope in a positive fashion.
My plans, your plans, our plans and their plans. Get rid of the danged plans or you build in conflict. Oh now we did not just suggest you stop making wonderful plans for holidays that is half the fun. Anticipation of events is just as much fun as events --- if we let them be that way.
What we are talking about is the vision that we all have in our minds, of how things should be. These visions are awesome. But we must be careful not to become the writer, director, producer and lead actor in the play we envision. Now that is good advice with one wonderful exception and it is difficult to do. Write the movie out very quickly and plainly "and the family gathered and nothing went as expected except that they gathered in love and enjoyed each other". And I tell you even that simple plot line can go haywire when child one disagrees with child 2's political position, and you are still stuck on peaceful, tranquil loving.
So let us look at some steps
Go through conflict step by step ahead of time.
Just assume all healthy happy twenty something children. There are still issues and if you just play Pollyanna about them they will become at best, big old elephants sitting at the table with you.
So work that phone ahead of time. Yes yes, text and email also. Children develop family roles as they grow. That is normal and generally quite healthy if we recognize it and keep it in the open so change and conflict there is minimized. 3 children, the oldest will probably be the organizer and the youngest somewhat apparently irresponsible and the middle torn between. Get over it and address it. Let the older one know to lighten up and the younger to try to be there on time.
Here is a good one. You set the timing, within understood availability. Have scheduling be your fault. Get over any issue caused thereby.
Now when I say work that phone I really mean to call up and then hit the mute button. If you listen well ahead of time, you will have a handle on issues and can develop strategies to deal and give some heads ups to others.
Just a fun song that kind of works -- you be a fireman
Where did I go wrong?
Now give up on the big days.
Big days are very cool. Big days are fun gatherings to celebrate each other. That is what they are and that is what they must be. Family traditions are so cool to the rule baby but they are traditions and not people. Let us look at a few fun ones:
Attending a worship service
Now all of these are good things just like wine and chocolate and sleep and work. Can you see where I am going here?
These are good things taken in reasonable moderation. If we let them control our lives to the detriment of other healthy things they become addictions and cause big problems. If we allow the traditions and "celebrations" to be more important than the people we are in for bad stuff.
Oh yes this author speaks from experience, both my own and others. I got so addicted that I spent myself broke, ate way to much, drank imprudently and fawned over the things of holidays.
Hello my name is Eric and I am a recovering holiday junkie. I can only go to one or two parties a year, I stay home in my own home for holidays, I cannot go to malls, I must keep food to a minimum and walk everyday. I reckon I used up all my fun tickets some time back.
So now what I am is a place for my family and friends to come find some peace for the holidays. And life is doggone good. I spend time wrapping my arms around people and my head around their problems and wrapping business for the year.
I have the finest holiday gift of all. Family and love.
Now do not get me wrong, we got dysfunction out the ya hoo, baby we got issues. But come this time of year we go shopping for solutions and understanding and life works out pretty well.
How much is too much?
Do you spend more on things then time on people?
Back to Big Days
Christmas and New Years are really just kind of arbitrary. The particular days are not really that important. One time when I was working in Asia I spent New Years in Taipei and New Years in LA just think of poor Santa what sleigh lag he must get.
I worked for a charity called Christmas in April once. So schedules are tough our younger adults are going from place to place to be with extended family and friends. A great gift to give adult children is to let the holiday be a different day. Sounds strange but think of that other gift, you are giving someone else. You just watch those young people will blow your mind and end up in soup kitchens and old folk homes and with grandparents.
So we revisit that tired and worn out phrase that transcend religion and just focuses on the good. Tis the reason for the season. We are given great hope in our traditions and our faiths. It is up to us to engineer those activities to achieve love of each other. We are not little pinball's bounced around by "the way it should be" we are living children who should always focus on what could be.
I do miss the old days, but I like the new too!
Guilt must be addressed.
Here is a fun one about stopping the guilt trips. So I have the 3 older children but I also have that 3 year old angel shown above. After years of swapping guilt over how we spent our holidays we finally came to a great conclusion. My three older children do their best to come around to see their old pappy. And there is no more nonsense about reasons and obligations. They just come by to see their little brother Gabriel because he is so fun and adorable and loves them so much. The mere fact that he lives with pappy is coincidental. But that don't matter none because we all just love getting together.
So what I am saying is that we dropped the need and just went for greed. We greedily suck up each other's love now. Nobody nowhere "needs" to be anywhere and anytime around here. Last night two of the adult children showed up a half hour late after we had gotten our pre-holiday Pho' all ready and just right, for 6 sharp. Well you know what? That is what the heck they make stoves and microwaves and oven for. Then we went down to see Santa and the boy was scared to death of him. My elder children and I agreed that it is really scary that little boys come around and sit on old men's laps. Of course that kept us in the cheer and the boy still got a candy cane for which we were duly scolded by his mom for letting him have.
There is just no need for things to be a certain way. Life comes at us, and we have choices.